20 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
It’s kind of cool that Paul didn’t leave Ephesus in a panic. He actually waited for things to calm down, took some time to encourage everyone, and then left. After spending years of fruitful teaching there, he would never come to Ephesus again.
He is back on the missionary trail and look at who is with him: Bereans, Thessalonians, men from Derby, other parts of Asia, and possibly even Lydia. The cities that once ran him out of town have sent representatives along with him to help preach the Gospel in other places. Some historians believe these folks also carried money from each of these churches for the famine and struggles in Jerusalem. If that is the case, this shows the unity of the early church even more.
Gentiles that had become Christians in pagan cities were sending aid to Jewish Christians they didn’t even know!
In the midst of these travels, they are still celebrating things like Passover. Paul was probably introducing all of these gentile Christians to new holidays they had never participated in before!
Finally, in Troas, they stayed for a few days and continued to teach and evangelize. It was a port town, like Ephesus and so many other cities Paul visited. It would be full of commerce and even people setting sail to visit Jerusalem during Passover. Of course, after Passover, the ports would be full of people coming back from the pilgrimage, so he could use all of this opportunity to get news from Jerusalem and to preach to people that weren’t devout or rich enough to make the pilgrimage.
God works in all kinds of real-life circumstances to advance His kingdom. He’s going to work this week as people travel during spring break and interact with new people. He’s going to work this week as people start jobs and engage with new co-workers. God is even going to use some of us in the humdrum repetition of our daily lives. It was just another week for a lot of people in Philippi and Troas, but for the Apostle Paul and his entourage, it was an opportunity for a week of teaching.
There is never a mundane time in the Kingdom of Heaven if you keep your eyes open.
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