Acts 20


I'm not going to print out the entire chapter here; it's rather long. Since this is for Bible study at your church, I'm sure you're familiar with it.

Acts was, of course, written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke. It is basically the sequel, dealing with how Jesus' message spread in the years immediately after he ended his earthly ministry. As with much of Acts, Chapter 20 concerns the ministry of Paul. It describes the end of his third and final missionary journey through Asia Minor and Greece. He is going to Jerusalem, and from there he will end up in Rome under house arrest.

This chapter begins in the wake of a great uproar that Paul experienced in the Asia Minor city of Ephesus. That uproar was instigated, Luke believes, by the town's silversmiths. The bulk of their business was in selling images of the goddess Artemis to tourists visiting her great temple in that city.  

One key part of Chapter 20, after a detailed description of Paul's journey from Ephesus to Greece by way of Macedonia, is a rather casual reference to an apparent restoration to life that Paul accomplished in Troas (probably Troy). He preached for so long that a boy sitting on a window sill fell asleep and tumbled into the street. He was presumed dead, but Paul embraced him and assured everyone that "his life is in him." Luke then goes on to describe the details of Paul's departure, adding casually (verse 12) that "they took the lad away live."

Was this a Lazarus-like restoration of life? Was the assumption that the boy was dead incorrect? I tend toward the latter, largely because Luke is so brief and offhand in his narration. Luke embraces the boy; we're not told that he restored the boy to life, but that he felt and affirmed that he was not dead. Either way, it's in interesting affirmation of the unlimited power of faith.

The rest of the chapter reports on Paul's farewell as he departs for Palestine. He warns the elders of the church that after he leaves "fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock." These wolves are apparently the 'false prophets' who plagued Paul throughout his ministry with Jesus's teachings that were not in alignment with his. The 'fierce wolves' for us, I think, are ego-based thoughts that try to undermine our spiritual guidance and dissuade us from our spiritual Truth.


Rev. Ed