Thursday 30th June 2022

ACTS 20

After the riot, two separate groups of disciples travelled with Paul to the Troas, but not at the same time.  Eventually they met up with the local disciples and stayed a week, culminating in a meeting of the whole church to break bread – that is, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper – on the Sunday.  The corporate gatherings of the early church were often known as ‘The Breaking of Bread’, although they did do this in their homes in smaller groups too.  Perhaps we should reinstate the importance and frequency of this simple ceremony in our time!  It is instrumental in harnessing the power and blessing of our salvation covenant.

Paul was due to leave the next day and so took the opportunity to talk for half the night to the gathered church at Troas.  Even an apostle cannot be that interesting for that long, and soon a young man had dropped off – first, to sleep, and then to his death from the third-floor window ledge.  Paul walked downstairs, raised the young man from the dead, went upstairs again, broke bread and carried on speaking until morning! 

He was now in a hurry to reach Jerusalem before Pentecost, so that he could preach to the large number of pilgrims that would gather then.  So he stopped on the Turkish coast and sent for the elders of the Ephesus church, bidding them farewell and warning them that there would be trouble for both Paul, and for the Ephesian church in the future.  The Spirit was compelling Paul to go to Jerusalem and yet warning him that persecution and trouble awaited him there.  The Spirit was also warning the Ephesian elders that they needed to be on their guard against the ‘wolves’ of false prophets and heretics who would attempt to steal away the disciples from the true faith.  It is not good enough to be a disciple; you have to be following the right person – and ultimately following Christ.  And those ‘wolves’ will not look like wolves, but they will be dressed up like other sheep.  So be on your guard!

Paul left them with a saying of Jesus ringing in their ears: “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.  This is not a saying that is recorded in any of the four gospels.

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