August 19, 2021 – Acts 16-18
Of Paul’s ministry, Luke writes: “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily” (16:5). That’s a good report, which is then followed by the story of the “Macedonian call.” And so, they headed to Macedonia, “concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (16:10).
Wonderful things then happened: the conversion of Lydia and her entire household, Paul and Silas imprisoned and beaten, but in the prison miraculously freed and the Philippian jailer and his family saved and baptized. Paul continued to preach Jesus everywhere he went, “explaining that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead” (17:3). No new strategy here. No innovative approach. No fancy, detailed program. Just preaching Jesus!
The encounter with the Bereans. And then, the preaching in Athens, in which Paul told the people about “the unknown God” and his command that everyone everywhere should repent and turn to him. In Corinth, Paul hooked up with Aquila and Priscilla, and he reasoned in the synagogue daily, “testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus” (18:5). One of the rulers there, Crispus, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household (18:8), and many other Corinthians. Paul stayed many days in Corinth, and then headed back to Antioch.
The gospel just kept going and going!
Shall we, whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high,
Shall we to men benighted
The lamp of life deny?
Salvation! O salvation!
The joyful sound proclaim,
Till earth's remotest nation
Has learned Messiah's name. --Reginald Heber (1819)