Monday, August 1, 2011

Acts 16:1-40

*There is alot here but it is very beneficial to use to understand what Paul went through.
Chapter 16:1-5
    Paul returns to Lystra the city where he had been stoned at on his previous trip. I don't know about you but if I had almost been killed somewhere it would be very hard for me to return to that place so soon or ever. It was here that Paul meets a young new disciple named Timothy who was well spoken of by those around him. Paul wanted him to join him on his new journey but had heard that Timothy wasn't circumcised. Fearing this would be a problem down the road in the ministry he insisted that Timothy have the procedure done. After that was done they began on their journey and a new strong friendship was formed.
Chapter 16: 6-10
     In verse 6 and 7 we see Paul wanting to go to various cities but once they had approached them the Spirit of the Lord would tell them not to enter but to keep going. When I read this it really stuck out to me that Paul was truly following the Lord in everywhere he went because when the Spirit said no they listened ans continued somewhere else. It was in a vision while in Troas that Paul had a vision from a Macedonian man pleading that they come and help them. Paul awoke from his dream and immediately prepared for the journey that God was calling them on. In verse 10 we see the word "us" appear which would mean that the writer, Luke, was right there along side of Paul the whole time and not just viewing from afar.
Chapter 16:11-15
     The men soon set out first to other cities and then ending up in Philippi. When the Sabbath came around naturally Paul wanted to worship with believers but there wasn't a synagogue around. Outside the the gates there was a group of  women who had joined together and welcomed the disciples to join with them. After hearing what they had to say they received the Word of the Lord and were baptized. Among them was a woman named Lydia who sold fine linens in the city. She wanted the men to have a meeting place while they were in the city so she opened up her home to them. May I be like Lydia and have my home open to His disciples who need rest.
Chapter 16:16-24
     As Paul and the other men were traveling they were being followed by a demon possessed girl whose master used her for his own fortune. After a long time of her taunting them Paul turn and looked at her and in Jesus's name cast the demons out. She was freed and healed but the master wasn't happy because what made him money was gone. He had Paul and Silas dragged into the city and brought before the high officials. The officials had them beaten and then locked away in the inner prison with their feet bound in stocks.
Chapter 16:25-34
     Even though they were in a bad position they still had reason to praise God. The other prisoners listened as they sang and were happy. There was a great earthquake that came and shook the foundations of the jail along with all of the chains. The guard awoke and saw the doors open and was about to kill himself when Paul called out to him that they were all still there. In what circumstances other than in the Lord's presence would a group of inmates want to stay in jail when all the chains were off. The guard was overwhelmed by their actions and asked how he could be saved too. Paul simply said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household." He believed and him along with his household were baptized immediately. The guard not only took them into his home but he also fed them and cleaned their wounds.
Chapter 16: 35-40
    The next day the officials sent the guard to tell Paul and Silas that they had been warned and could leave the jail but they had to leave the city as well. Paul didn't like this and told the guard that the officials would have to escort them out personally. It was the law that no Roman citizen could be punished like they were unless they had just cause. Since they hadn't really sought out what had happened with the girl and her master the officials were in the wrong. They were afraid when they hear these men were Romans and did as they had requested. Paul and Silas did leave the jail but they did stop by Lydia's house so they could encourage those who were new to the faith.

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