After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. (Acts 20:1-6)
For help in understanding these verses see the map.
It was now unsafe in Ephesus, so Paul set off to complete his plan of land and sea travel (see Chapter 19 verse 21); this was to make a final visit to Macedonia, especially Philippi, and then further to Greece as well, including Corinth.
After that, when about to take ship to Jerusalem, he learned of the plot against him. For other Jews travelling on the same boat as pilgrims to the spring festivals in Jerusalem it would have been so easy for them to kill him at sea. Quickly he took boat in the opposite direction going back once again to Phillipi.
His party consisted of representatives from various churches; and, when they left Philippi at last to go to Jerusalem, it now also included Luke the writer of Acts.
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and[b] the day after that we went to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 20:7-16)
Paul’s first stop on his journey from Philippi to Jerusalem was a week spent in Troas.
The final all-night Sunday meeting with the believers, together with Paul’s farewell speech, was too long for one tired young man. Luke, the doctor, tells us how Eutychus died and was then brought back to life.
Then he describes how their journey continued by stages down the west coast of Asia (see map).
Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. (Acts 20:17-25)
Paul had important things to say:
For three years he had preached and taught the Ephesians with strong words of testimony that they must follow the liberation path offered by Jesus.
Then he explained how the Holy Spirit kept on speaking to him with strong words saying that he must move on; he must complete elsewhere the work given him by Jesus – the same work of the strong preaching of the good news – despite troubles that lie ahead.
So now he will be leaving them to go to Jerusalem led by the Spirit.
Read in the next post how Paul then spoke strong words of instruction and warning to the Ephesian elders before leaving them for ever .