Bible Reading Day 192
Day 192: July 11 (Acts 16:1-15)
After Paul and Barnabas separated over the inclusion of John Mark in the team, Paul and Silas went back to the areas where Paul had ministered before. First to Derbe, then Lystra. Here they met a young man called Timothy who was well regarded and Paul wanted him to join their team – to step into leadership. It is interesting that Paul went back to these towns where he was recently persecuted. He has no fear of opposition, nor is he delayed by the recent disagreement with his best friend and spiritual father. Barnabas had taken Paul to the apostles in the beginning, after his salvation; he was the first leader to believe in Paul. Many of us might have struggled to maintain momentum after a forceful disagreement with the person who first led us into leadership, but not Paul. Timothy would have known about the way Paul was treated on his first journey through the area. He was beaten and left for dead, but was raised up and later escaped to continue his journey. I wonder if Timothy hesitated before accepting Paul’s invitation?
Next, notice that Paul has Timothy circumcised before joining their team, so that he wil not have to battle un-necessary Jewish opposition. Does this seem like a contradiction to you? God has just made it very clear that circumcision is not necessary for salvation, but now Paul requires Timothy to be circumcised. One possible explanation is that Timothy is stepping into leadership, and leadership often requires a higher standard. This will help Timothy’s ministry, even though the cost is high!
Ironically, they travel from town to town instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem (including the instruction that they need not be circumcised!).
Moving on from Lystra, we read an account of the interchange between the Holy Spirit and these two men, taking them around modern day Turkey until Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man saying “come and help us.” In response they set out immediately for this new cultural challenge. There is a Roman colony in this nation – Philippi. This proves to be a fruitful place of ministry, and Lydia (an influential woman in the city) is saved. Being baptized, she urges the travelers to stay at her home for a while.
So we have learned that leadership has a cost, God sometimes doesn’t let us go where we want, and it takes courage to go back to where we have been persecuted for the sake of those who have believed as a result. This is not an easy journey, but you may not hear that taught in many churches!
Have a great day!