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Sketches From The Life of Paul

by Ellen G. White

Chapter 18: Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem.

Contents  Preface.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  ...

Paul greatly desired to reach Jerusalem before the passover, as he would thus have an opportunity to meet the people who came from all parts of the world to attend the feast. He had a [p. 195] continual hope that in some way he might be instrumental in removing the prejudice of his countrymen, so that they might accept the precious light of the gospel. He was also desirous of meeting the church at Jerusalem, and bearing to them the liberalities donated by other churches to the poor brethren in Judea. And he hoped, in this visit, to bring about a firmer Christian union between the Jewish and Gentile converts to the faith.

Having completed his work at Corinth, he determined to sail directly for one of the ports on the coast of Palestine. All his arrangements had been made, and he was about to step on board the ship, when he was informed of a plot laid by the Jews to take his life. These opposers of the faith had been foiled in all their efforts to put an end to the apostle's work. Since the unsuccessful attempt to secure his condemnation by Gallio, five years before, they had been unable to arouse the people or the rulers against him. The work of the gospel had advanced, despite all their opposition. From every quarter there came accounts of the spread of the new doctrine by which Jews were released from their distinctive observances, and Gentiles admitted to share equal privileges as children of Abraham. The success attending the preaching of this doctrine, which with all their hatred they could not controvert, stung the Jews to madness. Paul, in his preaching at Corinth, presented the same arguments which he urged so forcibly in his epistles. His strong statement, "There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision," was regarded by his enemies as daring blasphemy. They determined that his voice should be silenced. [p. 196] While he was under the protection of the Roman authorities, it might not be prudent to molest him; but they would have their revenge as soon as the ship had left the shore. It would not be a difficult matter to bribe captain or sailors to do any deed of violence.

Upon receiving warning of the plot, Paul decided to change his course, and go round by Macedonia, accompanied by a sufficient number of brethren to protect him. His plan to reach Jerusalem by the passover had to be given up, but he hoped to be there at Pentecost. An overruling Providence permitted the apostle to be delayed on this occasion; for had he been present at the passover, he would have been accused of instigating a riot and massacre which was caused by the pretensions of an Egyptian impostor claiming to be the Messiah.

At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the passover. Only Luke remained with him, the other members of the company passing on to Troas to await him there. The Philippians were the most loving and true-hearted of the apostle's converts, and he enjoyed a peaceful and happy visit with them during the eight days of the feast.

The passage from Philippi was hindered by contrary winds, so that five days instead of two, the usual time, were required to reach Troas. Here Paul remained seven days, and as was his custom, improved the opportunity to encourage and strengthen the believers.

Upon the last evening of his tarry with them, the brethren "came together to break bread." The fact that their beloved teacher was about to depart, had called together a larger company than usual. They assembled in an upper room [p. 197] on the third story, the coolest and pleasantest place for such a gathering on that warm spring evening. The nights were then dark, but many lights were burning in the chamber. Paul's mind was impressed with a sense of the perils that awaited him, and the uncertainty of again meeting with his brethren; he had matters of great interest and importance to present before them; and in the earnestness of his love and solicitude for them, he preached until midnight.

On the broad sill of a window whose shutters had been thrown open, sat a youth named Eutychus. In this perilous position he sank into a deep slumber, and at last fell from his seat into the court below. The discourse was interrupted. All was alarm and confusion. The youth was taken up dead, and many gathered about him with cries and mourning. But Paul, passing through the affrighted company, clasped him in his arms, and sent up an earnest prayer that God would restore the dead to life. The prayer was granted. Above the sound of mourning and lamentation the apostle's voice was heard, saying, "Trouble not yourselves, for his life is in him." With rejoicing, yet in deep humility at this signal manifestation of God's power and mercy, the believers again assembled in the upper chamber. They partook of the communion, and then Paul continued his discourse till the dawn of day. Eutychus was now fully restored, and they brought him into the congregation and were not a little comforted.

The time had now come when the company must separate. The brethren who accompanied Paul went on board the ship, which was about to set sail. The apostle, however, chose to take [p. 198] the nearer route by land between Troas and Assos, and rejoin his companions on shipboard at the latter city. The difficulties and dangers connected with his proposed visit to Jerusalem, the attitude of that church toward himself and his work, as well as the condition of the churches and the interests of the gospel work in other fields, presented subjects for earnest, anxious thought, and he chose this lonely walk that he might have opportunity for reflection and communion with God.

Contents  Preface.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  ...


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