The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In the beginning of Acts 20, the apostle Paul continues with the plan he conceived in chapter 19. He wanted to go to Macedonia, Asia, Jerusalem, and later to Rome. As he went, he was encouraging the churches. We notice in verse three that he remained in Greece for three months. He was not simply passing through the areas, but was spending the time which seemed appropriate.
As usual, controversy followed Paul. His plan to go on to Syria (Asia) was apparently known because there were plots against him. The Jewish opposition prevented his trip to Syria, sending him rather through Macedonia again. This incident helps us see more about the early Christian attitude toward persecution. Though it could not be avoided, Paul’s plan to go through Asia was not something he would pursue regardless. Christians have always been driven from one place to another by persecution. This is no different in the case of Paul. If he had an idea that God had directly commanded him to be in Asia at all costs, he would doubtless have gone ahead. But this was not the case. He took a different path. Christians will endure hardships. They do not, however, have to seek those hardships out.
Verses 5-6 remind us that Luke was an eyewitness of many of the events in Acts but not all of them. Notice the shift from speaking about Paul and his activities in the first four verses, but then bringing “us” in at Troas. Of course, Luke was able to gather all the information he wanted about the activities of Paul. There were several others with Paul, an international cohort, in fact. The narrative of Acts is written in a reasoned manner, showing the fruit of both research and personal experience. It is a very reliable ancient text.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.