The Dread Ahead

Message:  In Acts 20 Paul was traveling, teaching and ministering all kinds of miracles. He learned that the Jews had plotted against him so he was advised to reroute his plans. He ended up in Troas where he spoke for seven days. On the last night he spoke until midnight and a young man fell asleep in a third story window and fell to his death. Paul ran down stairs, fell on him, embraced him and said “don’t be alarmed- his life is in him.” The way this is written implies that everything carried on like normal. They continued to talk and eat and they brought the boy home alive. From there Paul was headed to Jerusalem but he made a few stops and while in Ephesus he kept telling them that they would not see his face again. He talked about the dread he had because in every town he visited he heard from the Holy Spirit that suffering and affliction were waiting for him. Two things crossed my mind. The first thing was a reminder that when Paul was first saved the church dreaded him. He had done significant damage to the church so when God called Ananias to go heal Paul (formerly Saul) God told him that he would show Paul how much he would be required to suffer in his name. It seemed that this was actively taking place and Paul was feeling much of the same dread that the church had felt because of him. He was just as persistent in his pursuit of spreading the gospel as he had previously been in trying to destroy it. The other thing that crossed my mind was that Paul had performed a lot of miracles in the name of Jesus and had just defied death by raising a young man back to life. Now he was facing his own situation and didn’t seem to be able to see past it. He was telling the church that they wouldn’t see his face again as he seemed to anticipate his own death. As I thought about this another thing came to mind. Like Paul, we often have an easy time seeing the miracle in someone else’s situation but we can’t see it in our own. The important point is that regardless of how he felt about the situation, he didn’t run away from it. He ran straight for it fully accepting whatever it may be.

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