Thursday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 16:6-10

The Bible Records What God Really Did

We have here a short passage, but God’s word overflows regardless of length and much is encapsulated in every verse.  Granted, not everyone is a lover of maps (I personally struggle with busy road maps), but the fact that Luke feels the need to give us the itinerary of the apostles in their travels shows us an important matter of our faith, which is that ours is a faith where God works in His world, in space and time, working His ways among men.  The Christian faith is not based upon myths or legends but upon God’s action in the real world often using real people to fulfill His divine will.

So here we are with Paul, Silas, and young Timothy who came highly recommended by the brothers in the churches of Lystra and Iconium, a lesson to us why even today we must check credentials through the brethren of faithful churches.  What intrigues us in this passage is that, not once but twice, the Holy Spirit forbids the missionaries to share the gospel in certain places in Asia (Minor).  It was apparently their plan to do so; after all, they had established churches in the southern parts of Asia Minor: Why not move west (the direction of which they were first forbidden) or north (the second direction of which they were forbidden).  And all we can say is that God had other plans, and that plan was that Paul and his companions share the gospel across the Aegean Sea in Macedonia–the home of the Greeks–and establish churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth, instead.

I cannot tell how the Lord communicated to them; we are simply told that the Holy Spirit forbade them.  Perhaps it was an overwhelming sense which they all shared.  At any rate, the Spirit spoke to Paul in a vision and settled the matter.  By the way, do note that the Holy Spirit is here called the “Spirit of Jesus,” indicating once again to whom the Holy Spirit testifies, and that there is no daylight between the Holy Spirit and Jesus (John 16:12-15).  As Jesus is the Son of the Father, so the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, sent by the Son to lead people to the Son, who then leads them to the Father.  The Spirit of Jesus never leads God’s people to do something contrary to God’s word, who is His beloved Son.

And finally, please note the word “we” in verse ten.  Why would Luke say, “we?”  Obviously because he was accompanying the missionaries at this point in their journey.  Luke said in his prologue to Luike/Acts in Luke 1:1-4 that he intended to write an orderly account based upon eyewitness reports, and he was one such witness, pointing again to the reliability of God’s word.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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