Breakthrough in Macedonia

KEY VERSE: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” —Galatians 3:28


AFTER the sharp confrontation between Barnabas and Paul over Mark, Barnabas sailed to Cypress with Mark, and Paul and Silas traveled by land through Syria and Asia Minor. As they progressed on their journey, they ministered to the churches along the way. When they arrived at Derbe and Lystra they met a devout young man by the name of Timotheus. He was the son of a Jewish mother and a Greek father. He had been educated in the Word of God, and had come to believe at the time of a previous visit by Paul. Timothy was well reported of by the elders and being a young man with promising abilities, Paul decided to take him on his travels to assist in his labors.

It is interesting to note that one of the first things Paul did was to circumcise Timothy. This seems rather strange in view of the decision made in Jerusalem that circumcision should not be required of anyone who had accepted Christ. But there were extenuating circumstances in the case of Timothy—things that would affect the ministry.

When they came to Troas, Paul had a vision whereby the Holy Spirit directed him to go to Macedonia to carry on the Lord’s work there. The text reads, “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over to Macedonia, and help us.”—Acts 16:9

When Paul received the instructions from the Lord, he and Timothy immediately began to make preparations to depart for Macedonia. When they arrived in Philippi, they found there was no synagogue, and so on the Sabbath they went out of the city to the banks of the river, “where prayer was wont to be made” (Acts 16:13), and there they found some women and spoke to them concerning the Gospel. One of those present responded immediately, “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”—Acts 16:14,15

The group apparently continued to meet on the riverbank, preaching the Gospel to all who came there. One day a young girl possessed of evil spirits and who was being exploited by her masters followed Paul and Timothy crying, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation.” (vs. 17) This was done many days and the anguish in the girl’s voice grieved Paul so much that he commanded, in the name of Jesus Christ, that the spirit come out of her, and it did. But when the masters realized that her powers of divination had gone, they were angry and brought Silas and Paul before the rulers. Here they were tried and beaten with many stripes and cast into prison.

In prison their feet were fastened in stocks which, because of the beating they had received, must have rendered their situation very painful. Thus they were left with their wounds undressed, in the damp and cold, to await further proceedings in the morning. By midnight they had probably been in the stocks for several hours, and the pain and the discomfort must have been almost intolerable. They first poured out their hearts in prayer; and doubtless remembered their persecutors in prayer, and especially the jailor. They were blessed and encouraged, and apparently given some relief from the pain, because they began to sing praises to the Lord so loudly that the other prisoners heard them.

The Lord heard these faithful servants and he caused an earthquake that was so severe it opened the doors of the prison, and everyone’s hands and feet were loosed. The jailor was frightened and would have killed himself, fearing the penalty if the prisoners escaped. But Paul assured him that the prisoners were all there. The jailor was so impressed with Silas and Paul that they had an opportunity to declare the Gospel to him and he was converted and baptized. “When he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”—Acts 16:34

Dawn Bible Students Association
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