April 24, Friday
Paul was about to sail for Syria when some Jews made a further plot against him, so he decided to make his way back through Macedonia instead. Part of the team, Sopater, a Berean, the son of Pyrrhus; two Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and two Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus, went ahead to Troas. The rest of us sailed from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread and joined them five days later at Troas, where we spent a week.
On the first day of the week, we assembled for the breaking of bread. Since Paul intended to leave on the following day, he began to speak to them and talked nearly till midnight. There were a great many lamps burning in the upper room where we met, and a young man called Eutychus, who was sitting on the window sill, fell asleep as Paul’s address went on and on. Finally, completely overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground from the third story. When they got to him, he was dead; but Paul bent over him and embraced him. “Don’t be alarmed,” Paul said, “he is still alive.”
They all went upstairs again; and when they had broken bread and eaten, they continued to talk together until daybreak. Paul then departed. As for the boy, he was taken home alive, much to the relief of all.
Meanwhile we had gone aboard the ship and sailed for Assos. Paul had arranged for us to pick him up there since he chose to go overland. After he boarded at Assos, we went on to Mitylene and then to the coast. We sailed from there and arrived off the coast of Chios the next day. From Chios we sailed to Samos and finally Miletus. Paul had decided not to visit Ephesus in order to save time so that he might reach Jerusalem in time for the day of Pentecost.
While we were in Miletus, he called for the elders of the Church in Ephesus to come to him as he had a message on his heart for them.
“My life has been an open book among you ever since I first set foot in Asia. You are witnesses of how humbly I served the Lord and of the tears I shed because of the grievous trials I suffered at the hands of the Jews. You yourselves recall how I taught publicly and in your homes, always ready to proclaim whatever would be profitable for you. My Message was the same whether to Jews or Greeks: repentance towards God and unwavering trust in our Lord Jesus.
“And now I am compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what is going to happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit keeps warning me that imprisonment and persecution lay ahead. Mind you, I’m not concerned for my own life as long as I can finish my course and complete the ministry which the Lord Jesus has given me in declaring the Good News of the grace of God.
“I am painfully aware that not one of you to whom I preached the Kingdom of God will ever see my face again, which is why I wanted to meet with you one last time. My conscience is clear, for I have never shrunk from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
“Let me urge you to be on your guard for yourselves and for the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians. You are to be shepherds to the Church of God, which our Lord Jesus won at the cost of His own blood. It won’t be long before savage wolves will come in among you, having no mercy for the flock. Yes, and even from among your own group, men will arise speaking perversions of the truth, trying to draw away the disciples and make them followers of themselves.
“This is why I tell you to keep on the alert. When things get tough, remember my example, how for three years I never failed night and day to warn every one of you, often with tears. Now I commend you to the Lord and to the message of His grace which can strengthen you and secure your inheritance among all those who are consecrated to God.
“I have never coveted anybody’s gold or silver or clothing. Instead, with my own hands I have provided for my needs and for those of my companions. I have demonstrated to you that through hard work we must help the weak, always bearing in mind the words of the Lord Jesus when He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
With these words he knelt down and prayed with all of them. There were plenty of tears as they reflected on the possibility of never seeing him again. Each of them embraced Paul with much affection before accompanying him down to the ship.
From Miletus we sailed to Cos, then on to Rhodes and Patara where we transferred to a ship bound for Phoenicia. We passed by Cyprus and arrived in Tyre where their cargo was to be unloaded.
We contacted the disciples there and stayed with them for a week. They felt led by the Spirit again and again to warn Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem; but when the time came, we left there and continued our journey. They all came out to see us off, bringing wives and children with them. We walked together down to the beach where we prayed and said our farewells. Then we went aboard the ship while the disciples went back to their homes.
We sailed away from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais where we fellowshipped with the brothers. On the following day we sailed to Caesarea where we met up with Philip the evangelist, one of the original seven deacons, and his four unmarried daughters, all of whom were gifted prophetesses. While we were there, a prophet by the name of Agabus came down from Judea. When he came to see us, he took Paul’s belt and used it to tie his own hands and feet together, saying, “The Holy Spirit says this: the owner of this belt will be bound like this by the Jews in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles!”
Upon hearing this, those of us traveling with Paul, along with the believers in Caesarea, begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered us, “You’re breaking my heart with all your tears. Don’t you know that I am ready not only to be bound but to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the Name of the Lord Jesus.”
Since there was nothing we could do to change his mind, we committed the situation to the Lord, saying, “May the Lord’s will be done,” and said no more. After this we made our preparations and went up to Jerusalem.