Timothy Joins Paul and Silas
Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went from town to town, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.
Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia
They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
The Conversion of Lydia
We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.
Reading about Paul and Timothy’s experience here in Acts makes me wonder how they responded each time the spirit prevented them to speak or enter a place. They must have been full of purpose: Timothy having made the bold decision to travel with Paul, certain of where God was leading. But instead they’re hindered at every turn. Did they question what was being asked of them? Did they become frustrated and tempted to abandon their plans? Then Paul has a vision. And he trusts that this is the right next step.
The encounter with Lydia powerfully illustrates the gospel arriving in unexpected places with unexpected people. A business woman who “opened her heart” as a result of their faithfulness to pursue God wherever he led them. Paul and Timothy were unafraid to face the closed doors, to adapt and change and move forward with purpose. It reminds me of the sense of God being at work through all things, that our experiences are never wasted and how he grows and nurtures us always. For me the intense disappointment that day brought me into unexpected places with unexpected people too, something I’m profoundly grateful for now. It has helped me to realize how God draws us onward through both minor and major setbacks in life. Never abandoning us but all the while loving us wholeheartedly. So we grow more into his likeness.
Blessings as we pray that we might also be bold in witnessing to others about the saving power of Jesus Christ. Be safe! Be well! He is Risen Indeed!
- When have there been times in your life when it has seemed your way forward has been curtailed?
- What sense do you have of where God is leading you right now?
- Might God being taking you somewhere unexpected too? How do you feel about that?