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Volume 6 - Page 139 of 151 Index | Zoom | |
hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed
from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus."
From this point the synagogue drops out of notice. Accounts of his visits to
Macedonia, Troas, and Miletus, are given, but it is only among disciples that he is found.
His course is now set for Jerusalem, and he is in haste to be there by the day of Pentecost.
Instead therefore of journeying to Ephesus, he called for the elders of the church to meet
him at Miletus. What is the burden of his message to them? It divides itself into four
(1). Acts 20: 18-21. A resume of his ministry, as something that had been
completed and closed.
(2). Acts 20: 22-24. A revelation of a future ministry, with which imprisonment
is a close accompaniment.
(3). Acts 20: 25-27. A statement to the effect that these Ephesians would see his
face no more, and that he had not shunned to declare
unto them all the counsel of God.
(4). Acts 20: 28-35. A warning concerning the "wolves" who should enter in
after his departure.
It will be seen that this address indicates something unusual. The Apostle's usual
topic and manner is well expressed in Acts 17: 2, 3:--
"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned
with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have
suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom (said he) I preach unto
you, is Christ."
Now he calls the earnest attention of his hearers to that ministry as though he had
concluded it, summarizing it in Acts xx 21 by the words:--
"Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith
toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
Here for the last time does the kingdom word Repentance come from either the lip
or pen of the Apostle as a part of his gospel. Verse 22 commences a new phase,
"And now." What of the future? Paul says:--
"And now, behold, having been bound in the spirit, I go unto Jerusalem not knowing
the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Spirit witnesseth in every city,
saying that bonds and afflictions await me."
The apostle had no doubt as to his destination and destiny. Not once or twice, but in
every city the Spirit bore witness to the fact that he was to be the Lord's prisoner. Before
ever the shackles of Rome bound him, Paul was already "bound in the spirit," and never
does he allow the outward and secondary to take from him his clear title and calling as
"the prisoner of the Lord." The witness concerning bonds and imprisonment often
developed into advice to turn aside from such a goal, as may be seen in 21: 11, 12, but
it was always set aside and, like his Master, Paul set his face stedfastly to go to
Jerusalem. So he could say:--