ACTS CHAPTER 16 IS OFTEN CALLED PAUL’S 2ND JOURNEY, AND IN IT WE SEE PAUL EXTENDING THE GEOGRAPHIC AND ETHNIC RANGE OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE BEYOND THE AREAS WHERE JEWS HAD SUBSTANTIAL COLONIES, AND INTO THE MORE FAR FLUNG REGIONS OF THE VAST ASIAN CONTINENT. THIS DID NOT MEANS THAT PAUL WAS NO LONGER OFFERING JEWS THE GOOD NEWS, BUT IT DID MEAN THAT HE WOULD BE DEALING WITH PAGAN GENTILES WHO HAD WAY LESS FAMILIARITY WITH YAHUAH'S INSTRUCTIONS.
1Paul went to the city of Derbe and then to Lystra, where a follower of YAHUSHA named Timothy lived. Timothy’s mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2The believers in the cities of Lystra and Iconium had only good things to say about him. 3Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him, but all the Jews living in that area knew that his father was a Greek. So Paul circumcised Timothy to please the Jews.
TIMOTHY CIRCUMCISED? … WHAT ??
150 YEARS LATER, TIMOTHY WILL HAVE 2 SCRIPTURE BOOKS NAMED FOR HIM. HIS MOTHER WAS A JEWISH BELIEVER AND HIS FATHER WAS A PAGAN GENTILE. HIS MOTHER’S NAME IS EUNICE AND HIS GRANDMOTHER IS LOIS, WHO CAME TO YAHUSHA AT THE TIME OF PAUL’S 1ST MISSIONARY JOURNEY TO DERBE. WHAT IS SUPER IMPORTANT NOT JUST FOR THIS STORY, BUT FOR THE BOOKS OF 1ST AND 2ND TIMOTHY, IS THAT TIMOTHY’S MOTHER WAS A JEW; AND THE BELIEVING JEWS IN LYSTRA AND ICONIUM SPOKE GLOWINGLY ABOUT TIMOTHY, SO PAUL WANTED TIMOTHY TO COME WITH HIM ON THE REMAINDER OF HIS JOURNEY. BUT BEFORE THAT WAS CONFIRMED PAUL INSISTED THAT TIMOTHY GET CIRCUMCISED.
HE DID THIS BECAUSE THE JEWS LIVING IN THAT AREA KNEW THAT TIMOTHY’S FATHER WAS A PAGAN GENTILE (ie it was Dad's job to get the boy cicumcised) AND THEY WOULD HAVE JUDGED HIM FOR BEING AN CIRCUMCISED JEW. SO PAUL WAS NOT HYPOCRITICALLY CONVERTING A GENTILE TO A JEW, BUT WAS VALIDATING TIMOTHY’S VALUABLE JEWISH BIRTHRIGHT. TIMOTHY WAS BORN A JEW BUT YET HAD NOT BEEN CIRCUMCISED ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF MOSES. SO PAUL FELT THAT IF TIMOTHY WAS GOING TO BE AN EFFECTIVE JEWISH WITNESS TO THE NATIONS, HE WOULD HAVE TO BE TRUE TO HIS JEWISH HERITAGE AND TO THE LAW OF MOSES.
PAUL’S PURPOSE WAS ALSO NOT TO GIVE PEOPLE THE IMPRESSION THAT HE THOUGHT DELIVERANCE IS THROUGH JEWISH CIRCUMCISION, BUT TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM BELIEVING THAT HE CONDEMNED (AS NO BETTER THAN HEATHEN IDOLATROUS WORSHIP) THE INSTRUCTIONS OF YAHUAH. FOR JAMES HAD TOLD HIM, THAT THE REPORT HAD GONE ABROAD CONCERNING HIM (PAUL) THAT HE APARANTLY TAUGHT PEOPLE TO FORSAKE MOSES, AND OF COURSE THIS WAS WRONG, BECAUSE YAHUSHA HIMSELF EVEN SAID “IF YOU HAD BELIEVED MOSES, YOU WOULD HAVE BELIEVED ME, FOR HE WROTE ALL ABOUT ME.”
SO PAUL DIDN’T WANT TIMOTHY’S WALK TO BE EVEN HARDER THAN IT WOULD BE BY BEING A JEW WHO WAS UNCIRCUMCISED. REMEMBER: THE TORAH OF YAHUAH HAS IN NO WAY BEEN CHANGED OR ABOLISHED, ESPECIALLY BY YAHUSHA ON THE STAKE. SCRIPTURALLY IT IS THE BLOOD-COVENANT OF ABRAHAM THAT PROMISES YAHUSHA, WHO WILL BLESS ALL THE NATIONS. THEREFORE YAHUSHA MESSIAH IS A SEED OF THE PROMISES OF THE BLOOD-COVENANT OF ABRAHAM. AND THE COVENANT OF ABRAHAM REQUIRES BLOOD, AND IS PREDICATED UPON, CIRCUMCISION.
BUT YAHUSHA TRANSFORMED THE EARTHLY OPERATION INTO A DIVINE OPERATION OF THE HEART - USING HIS OWN BLOOD TO SEAL THE NEW AGREEMENT. THEREFORE, NO HEART CIRCUMCISION, NO MEMBERSHIP IN THE NEW BLOOD-COVENANT OF ABRAHAM. NO MEMBERSHIP IN THE COVENANT OF ABRAHAM, NO DELIVERANCE IN YAHUSHA. CIRCUMCISION OF THE FORESKIN IS THE OUTWARD PHYSICAL SHADOW OF THE INWARD REMOVAL OF THE OLD HEART AND SPIRIT. AND CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART IS THE ONLY PATH TO REPENTANCE, WHICH IS THE DOORWAY TO DELIVERANCE. NO DIVINE OPERATION OF THE HEART; NO INCORRUPTIBLE, ETERNAL SEED OF DELIVERANCE IS PLANTED UPON IMMERSION. PAUL KNEW THIS!
SO SINCE PAUL AND SILAS WERE GOING TO BE DEALING WITH A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ETHNIC GROUPS IN THEIR JOURNEY (SOME JEWISH, SOME GENTILE), AND SINCE THE SUBJECT OF THE GOSPEL (THAT YAHUSHA IS THE PROPHESIED MESSIAH AND DELIVERER - YAHUAH IN THE FLESH) WAS ALREADY CONTROVERSIAL, THEY CERTAINLY DIDN’T NEED TO ADD ANY SIDE ISSUES SUCH AS THIS JEWISH MAN (TIMOTHY) NOT BEING CIRCUMCISED. THERE IS NO HINT THAT TIMOTHY RESISTED THIS; BUT HE DID NOT RELISH THE PROCEDURE EITHER, FOR AT HIS AGE IT WAS PAINFUL AND DANGEROUS; AND NO DOUBT MANY DAYS PASSED AFTERWARD BEFORE HE WAS PHYSICALLY ABLE TO GO TRAVELING WITH PAUL.
4Then Paul and those with him traveled through other cities. They gave the believers the rules and decisions made from from the Disciples at the Jerusalem Council. They told them to obey these rules. 5So the Fellowships were becoming stronger in their belief, and the number of believers was growing every day.
THE RESULT OF THIS DECISION ASSURED JEWS THAT GENTILE BELIEVERS WOULDN’T RITUALLY DEFILE THEM, AND THE SAME DECISIONS ASSURED ...
9That night Paul saw a vision. In it, a man from Macedonia came to Paul. The man stood there and begged, “Come across to Macedonia and help us.” 10After Paul had seen the vision, we(LUKE IS OBVIOUSLY THERE ON THIS TRIP TOO) immediately prepared to leave for Macedonia. We just knew that YAHUSHA had called us to offer the Good News of deliverance to those people also.
GENTILES DIDN’T HAVE TO BECOME JEWS TO BE RITUALLY CLEAN ENOUGH TO ATTEND SYNAGOGUES. A HUGE MAN-MADE BARRIER HAD BEEN REMOVED AND THE RESULTS WERE STUNNING.
6Paul and those with him went through the areas of Phrygia and Galatia because YAHUSHA'S Spirit did not allow them to give the offer of Good News in the province of Asia. 7When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of YAHUSHA did not let them go there. 8So they passed by Mysia and went to the city of Troas.
Yahusha Orchestrates Everything!
PAUL KNEW IMMEDIATELY THAT THEY SHOULD GO, AND OF COURSE YAHUSHA ORCHESTRATED CIRCUMSTANCES THAT PUT THEM AT EXACTLY THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME TO CATCH A SHIP ACROSS THE AEGEAN SEA TO GET TO MACEDONIA. IN MODERN DAY TERMS, THEY WOULD BE TRAVELING INTO EUROPE, HOWEVER IN PAUL’S DAY THE TERM EUROPE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN USED.
CAN YOU SEE THAT PAUL’S PLANS ARE FLEXIBLE? HIS MINDSET IS ONE OF CAREFUL PLANNING AS WELL AS MAINTAINING AN OPENNESS TO `LET THE WIND BLOW,' LETTING YAHUSHA MOVE AS HE DESIRES. SO IT’S A BALANCE BETWEEN HUMAN PLANNING AND DIVINE GUIDANCE. SO WE TOO, MUST INCORPORATE BOTH ELEMENTS INTO ALL OF OUR GOALS AND ENDEAVOURS.
11We left Troas in a ship and sailed to the island of Samothrace. The next day we sailed to the city of Neapolis. 12Then we went to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city in that part of Macedonia. We stayed there for a few days. 13On the Shabath Day we went out the city gate to the river. There we thought we might find a special place for prayer.
Some women had gathered there, so we sat down and talked with them. 14There was a woman there named Lydia from the city of Thyatira. Her job was selling purple cloth. She was a worshiper of the true Creator YAHUAH. Lydia was listening to Paul, and YAHUSHA opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying.
15She and all the people living in her house were immersed. Then she invited us into her home. She said, “If you think I’m a true believer in the Master YAHUSHA, come stay in my house.” And she persuaded us to stay with her.
16One day we were going to the place for prayer, and a servant girl met us. She had the spirit of a python in her allowing her to speak what would happen in the future ...
By doing this she earned a lot of money for the men who owned her.
THE PYTHON WAS THE SERPENT THAT GUARDED THE DELPHIC ORACLE, WHOSE NAME WAS PYTHIA. SHE WOULD PERFORM AS A PRIESTESS AT THE SHRINE OF DELPHI, AND THIS PRIESTESS WAS PROBABLY THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN AMONG THE GREEKS. IN ANY CASE, A SLAVE-GIRL WHO CARRIED THIS SAME SPIRIT OF PYTHIA IN HER AS DID THE FAMOUS AND REVERED ORACLE AT DELPHI; SO SHE WAS QUITE THE ATTRACTION TO THESE GREEKS AND THEY PAID GOOD MONEY TO THIS SLAVE-GIRL’S OWNERS TO HAVE HER TELL THEM THEIR FUTURE. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THIS GIRL WAS DEMON POSSESSED AND WHAT HAPPENED WAS VERY REAL.
17She started following Paul and the rest of us around. She kept shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High Creator! They are telling you how you can be delivered!”18She continued doing this for many days. Finally this bothered Paul so much that he turned and said to the spirit, “By the power of YAHUSHA Messiah, I command you to come out of her!” And the demon spirit came straight out.
19When the men who owned the servant girl saw this, they realised that they could no longer use her to make money. So they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square to meet with the authorities. 20They brought Paul and Silas before the Roman officials and said, “These men are Jews, and they are making trouble in our city. 21They are telling people to do things that are not right for us as Romans to do.”
(SO FAR THE ONLY UPSET PEOPLE SEEMED TO BE THE BUSINESSMEN WHO OWNED THE SLAVE GIRL). BUT THE ACCUSATION TO INCITE RIOTS WAS A SENSITIVE ONE IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE, AND TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY. JEWS WERE NOTORIOUS RIOT STARTERS. WHAT COMES NEXT DERIVES FROM AN INCORRECT ASSUMPTION THAT THE TOWN MAGISTRATES MADE. BEHIND THE ACCUSATION THAT PAUL AND SILAS WERE JEWS IS THAT THEY ARE NOT ROMAN CITIZENS. PAUL AND SILAS WERE IN A TOWN OF MOSTLY GENTILES WHERE ROMAN CITIZENSHIP WAS THE NORM. IT WAS RARE THAT A JEW WOULD BE A ROMAN CITIZEN; SO RARE THAT THE TOWNSPEOPLE WOULDN'T EVEN CONSIDER IT.
PAUL’S STATUS AS A ROMAN CITIZEN (SOMETHING THAT IS REGULARLY BROUGHT UP) WAS INDEED OUT OF THE ORDINARY; AND THAT HIS CITIZENSHIP COULD BE TRACED TO HIS FATHER’S FAMILY WHO APPARENTLY WERE JEWISH ARISTOCRATS IN A HIGH ENOUGH POSITION THAT SOME HIGH ROMAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL AWARDED THEM SUCH STATUS. SO PAUL WAS BORN INTO ROMAN CITIZENSHIP AND HAD LED A PRIVILEGED LIFE. THIS IS WHY HE HAD LITTLE TROUBLE STANDING UP TO LOCAL POLITICIANS, OTHER ARISTOCRATS, AND EVEN KINGS. HE KNEW HOW TO HANDLE HIMSELF AND HE KNEW THE RIGHT WORDS TO SAY, AND HE KNEW HIS LEGAL RIGHTS AS A ROMAN CITIZEN AND HOW TO DEMAND JUSTICE. YAHUSHA HAD PICKED EXACTLY THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB AS THE LEAD TEACHER TO THE GENTILES OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
22The whole crowd turned against Paul and Silas. The officials tore the clothes off both men and ordered that they be beaten with rods. 23They were beaten severely and thrown into jail. The officials told the jailer, “Guard them very carefully!” 24When the jailer heard this special order, he put Paul and Silas far inside the jail and bound their feet between large blocks of wood.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing songs to YAHUSHA. The other prisoners were listening to them also. 26Suddenly there was an earthquake so strong that it shook the foundation of the jail. All the doors of the jail opened, and the chains on all the prisoners fell off. 27The jailer woke up and saw that the jail doors were open. He thought that the prisoners had already escaped, so he got out his sword and was ready to kill himself (BEFORE HE COULD BE SEVERELY PUNISHED FOR LOSING PRISONERS ON HIS WATCH). 28But Paul shouted, “OY!! Don’t hurt yourself! We’re all still here!”
29The jailer told someone to bring a light. Then he ran inside and, shaking with fear, fell down in front of Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them outside and said, “Men, what must I do to be delivered?”31They said to him, “Believe in the Master YAHUSHA and you will be delivered - you and all who live in your house.”32So Paul and Silas offered the message of YAHUSHA to the jailer and all the people who lived in his house.
33It was late at night, but the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Then the jailer and all his people were immersed. 34After this the jailer took Paul and Silas home and gave them some food. All the people were very happy because they now believed in YAHUSHA.
35The next morning the Roman officials sent some soldiers to tell the jailer, “Let these men go free.”36The jailer said to Paul, “The officials have sent these soldiers to let you go free. You can leave now. Go in peace.”37But Paul said to the soldiers, “Those officials did not prove that we did anything wrong, but they beat us in public and put us in jail. And we are Roman citizens. Now they want us to go away quietly. NO WAY!! They must come here themselves and lead us out!”
38The soldiers told the officials what Paul said, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid. 39So they came and told them they were so sorry. They led them out of the jail and asked them to leave the city. 40But when Paul and Silas came out of the jail, they went to Lydia’s house first, where they saw some of the believers there and encouraged them. Then they left when they were good and ready.
Are youWILLINGto alter your daily goals and plans to flow with Yahusha, like Paul was?
ISAIAH 1 - "If you are willing and obedient to YAHUAH, you will eat the good of the land".
1 CHRONICLES 28 "If you seek YAHUAH, you will find Him, but if you ignore Him, He'll cast you off forever".
I PETER 5 - "Shepherd the flock that YAHUSHA has given you, not because you're forced too, but do it willingly because you want too".
REVELATION 3 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to them and eat with them, and they with me".
THE FREE-WILL OFFERINGS THAT YAHUSHA REQUIRES HIS PRIESTS TO SLAUGHTER ARE FOUND IN THE DAILY SPONTENEOUS ABSTRACT. HE KNOCKS ON THE DOORS OF OUR HEART, WANTING THOSE WHO DESIRE HIM AND ARE WILLING TO YEARN AFTER HIM WITH EVERY BREATH, SEEKING HIS CONSENT BEFORE MAKING ANY MOVE. AND WHEN HE SEES THIS KIND OF PASSIONATE LOVE EXPRESSED TOWARDS HIM (SURE HE WILL TEST IT TO MAKE SURE WE WILL GO HIS WAY) ... BUT BLESSINGS OF FAVOUR AND `SUPPING' WILL ENSUE WITHIN THAT MATURE PERSON, THROUGH THE PORTAL ON THEIR HEARTS. AND BY HEARING AND DOING, THEY WILL BE EMPOWERED TO HELP OTHERS IN THE HARVEST.