Reading For Friday Acts 16:1-40
Paul met Timothy in Lystra because he was a disciple that was well thought of by the local church. Paul quickly decided to take him on the mission. Timothy's mom was a Jew, but he had not been circumcised. Paul encouraged circumcision so that they might avoid issues in the synagogues where he spoke. They shared the Jerusalem letter with all the churches of his first missionary journey. Paul’s dynamic mission was directed by the Holy Spirit, and he was prevented from going to some of the places that he intended to visit. In a vision, a Macedonian man urged him to help them in Macedonia. This is the first time that Luke uses the word we which may indicate that this was when he began to travel with Paul.
Paul began to preach in the city of Philippi, which was in the northeastern section of Macedonia. It was a Roman colony city and the place that we learn of Paul’s Roman citizenship. Philippi evidently did not have a Jewish synagogue, so they went to a Jewish place of prayer outside the city. On the Sabbath, Paul joined them for worship. There he encountered Lydia, a Gentile God-fearer, like Cornelius. She was a woman of some means and having believed and been baptized; she invited Paul and his companions to her home.
While Paul witnessed in Philippi, he was hounded by a servant girl who was possessed by a spirit with predictive powers. The spirit incessantly proclaimed Paul’s relationship to God and the saving power of his message. Annoyed by the situation, Paul exorcised the spirit. This caused a problem for the owners that lost a source of income and they hauled Paul before the town magistrates. These authorities had Paul and Silas beaten and thrown in jail.
Paul and Silas were miraculously delivered from their confinement by an earthquake. They did not flee but remained at the scene. The jailer expected to lose his life for loss of the prisoners, but Paul told him not to do any harm. He fell before them and asked the way to salvation. They witnessed to all his household. All were baptized. Joy filled their home. The following day, the town magistrates sent orders to the jailer to release them. Paul would not go. He divulged his Roman citizenship and noted that he and Silas had been scourged without a hearing, which was strictly forbidden for Roman citizens. He demanded that the magistrates come with a personal apology and escort them out. They encouraged the new church and continued their journey.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think Paul was so eager to add Timothy to the mission team?
- How do you think the mission team felt when they were not allowed to minister in several places?
- What should we do when we encounter obstacles during ministry?
- What does Lydia teach us about hospitality?
- How do Paul and Silas respond to their unjust punishment?
- What is the relationship between joy and suffering?
- Why do you think the jailer asked the question about salvation?
- What can we see from the salvation accounts in Philippi?