Acts 16 – 20
The first thing that struck me about this LONG reading is the word “we”! It starts to appear 10 verses in. Luke, the author of Acts and a doctor, was one of Paul’s companions on this mission trip that lasted years. So this is a first-hand account of what happened! He talks about so many people by name, people he met as the group travelled around the cities, people they introduced to Jesus in all sorts of ways. Each one mattered.
It’s interesting to compare the references to the Holy Spirit and those about Jesus. “Jesus” and “Messiah” crop up twice as many times as the Spirit. Whenever Jesus is mentioned, he is the message, he’s the one who saves, he’s the one Paul and the others talk about. The Holy Spirit seems to me to be more like the Project Manager of the team (ask Peter Rigney). The Spirit is the one who’s leading, empowering, communicating, appointing overseers (minders) of the flock, warning. He (or she – there’s a case for both!) is the one who’s in charge of the whole operation of making Jesus known.
Love the phrase “extraordinary miracles”! (19:11)
Pauls’ approach to life seems to be summed up in the letter he wrote to the Philippians:
“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering…” (3:8,10) These 5 chapters prove to me he was getting what he wanted!