As we mentioned yesterday Paul is on what is essentially his farewell tour throughout Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece. Yesterday and the day before we saw Paul’s stay Ephesus. And now today we are going to see him move from Ephesus into Greece and Macedonia, and then finally his return by land to Asia Minor, and the ultimate result of this return journey back to Syria and ultimately Jerusalem will be Paul’s journey to Rome, which is what the entire book of Acts has been building up to.
When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.—20:1-3
Luke here accurately describes Paul’s travels, but expresses it in broad strokes. In other words he does not get into great detail about what happened during Paul’s farewell tour of the churches that he planted, quite possibly because much of what would have happened in this farewell tour was personal and private (it was information that we do need nor do we have a right to know). After the near riot, Paul went to Macedonia (surely including Philippi). His next destination was Greece, which likely refers to Athens and Corinth. The plot of the Jew redirected Paul from a sailing trip to a land route (back through Macedonia). The specific plot is unstated. Whether the plot was a port ambush, nefarious deeds at sea or some other plan, it was avoided by the trip to and through Macedonia.
He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. But we sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.—20:4-6
The list of names in verse 4 is a delegation representing the Gentile churches that carried an offering to Jerusalem for God’s people (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 8-9). The list includes representatives from most of the regions Paul evangelized; notably absent are Corinth and Philippi. The men listed, however, were Paul traveling companions and may not be the whole group that ultimately met in Jerusalem. These men went ahead of Paul to Troas. Since the Festival of Unleavened Bread occurs with Passover, Paul waited to celebrate Easter with the Philippians. The resumption of the pronoun “we” indicates that Luke was again traveling with Paul as they landed at Troas, where they stayed for a week.
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.—20:7-12
The meal on Sunday was not necessarily the Lord’s Supper. Paul’s speech lasted until midnight because it was Paul’s only—and perhaps last—opportunity to address these believers. Eutychus’s name, common at the time, means “good fortune.” The room was on the third floor of a building. Thus, when Eutychus lost his battle against sleep, the horrified group watch him fall 30 feet to his death. One can only imagine the horror of running downstairs to find the young man outside. The story then describes the resuscitation of Eurychus. Afterward Paul continued his teaching until daybreak. The continued attention of the believers at Troas demonstrates their hunger for the Word of God. Paul left the meeting, not the city. And that is where we will pick tomorrow as we see Paul leave Troas and return for a third time to Ephesus, where he will give a great farewell address to the elder of the Ephesian church.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, 1 Corinthians 10:14-33, Psalm 34:11-22 and Proverbs 21:14-16
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