Understanding Acts | The Journey | Acts 20.13-16 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | Apr 17, 2023

“We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot.14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.” Acts 20.13-16

Paul was a traveling man! I can not imagine the amount of miles he traveled proclaiming the gospel. Some scholars have put the distance at over 10,000 miles. This is incredible. On this journey (visit the link for the map) Paul travels from Assos, to Mitylene, to Chios, Samos and Miletus. He avoids Ephesus and Asia because “he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible by the day of Pentecost.” This is Paul’s Third Missionary journey with only his trip to Rome remaining.

I mean, Paul is all over the Mediterranean region. In a dozen countries, so many different cultures and cities. Most of which are within the Roman Empire of the time. Paul spent a total of at least twelve years taking the gospel to this part of the world where over 14 churches were planted. He had a sole focus on preaching the Good News and almost always used Jerusalem (and Antioch) as his home base.

What motivated Paul to be so faithful to preaching the gospel? He was initially such a zealous Jew persecuting Christians, until Christ met him on the Road to Damascus. Jesus interrupted the life of Paul and turned him to be an agent to help build God’s Kingdom. And although Paul began the work, it is not finished. With each new generation the work of the Lord must be fulfilled. New people from all over the world need to hear about Christ. The gospel must be spread, the Word must be told.

And who will go? Who will tell? Who will communicate the message of life or death? Freedom or slavery? Redemption or imprisonment? Paul, filled by the Holy Spirit and commissioned by Jesus himself, carried forth the gospel as the greatest missionary the world has seen. Consequently, setting for us a model of what can and should be done.

Within this same chapter in Acts 20.24 Paul communicates his vision for what Christ has called him to accomplish. This can be our inspiration as well — “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

“O Lord, use me. The miles I travel, the prayers I pray, the programs I direct, let them be instrumental in spreading your gospel. Let your agenda be my agenda. Let me keep my focus on proclaiming your Good News so that people might find hope, release, freedom and joy in you. Thank you Lord for loving us and for using Paul to proclaim your word. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen