November 21 I Thursday
“During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” —Acts 16:9
In Paul’s second missionary journey, he passed through the region of Galatia and Phyrgia because the Holy Spirit forbade him to speak the word in Asia. He then decided to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow him. It is entirely sound that Paul would decide,
“I think this is the best place to go,” but at the same time, he had his ears attuned to God.
When Paul finally received a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us,” he immediately left for Macedonia, concluding that God had called him to preach the gospel there, he came to a town called Philippi, which is a leading city in the district of Macedonia. He found a place of prayer and spoke to the women who had gathered there. While Paul was speaking to these women, God opened the heart of a lady called Lydia. She was a seller of purple, which means
she was a very affluent lady. She came to faith and was baptized along with her household.
A few days after meeting Lydia, Paul was followed by a demonized slave girl who earned her owner money as a fortune-teller. This slave girl––from the opposite end of the spectrum––was a trafficked woman owned by other men. Paul drove the demon out of her and led her to Christ. When her owners saw the demon had gone and she could no longer tell fortunes, they seized Paul and Silas, dragged them to the marketplace, stripped them naked, beat them, flogged them and
threw them into the inner prison.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God while other prisoners listened. Suddenly a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the prison, their chains fell off and the jailer began to panic. But Paul cried, “…We are all here!”
(Acts 16:28). The jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul saw an opportunity and replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”
(Acts 16:31). Then the jailer and his entire household believed and were baptized.
Looking back at the early ministry of Paul, Macedonia must have been one of the most diverse churches with the high class Lydia, the trafficked slave girl, the Roman jailer and the prisoners. Macedonia is a great reminder of what the body of Christ is made of, individuals who come from different backgrounds, ethnicities and social statuses, but are united by our common faith and hope placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that Your body is beautifully diverse. Give me the love and acceptance to welcome those who differ from my background, ethnicity and social status.