Following Paul’s conversion, he spent time with the Apostles and other disciples to learn the message of Jesus Christ. After a few years, he joined in the mission to preach the gospel to the world and to make disciples of many. Many great signs followed Paul’s ministry and he attracted both admiration and disdain along his journey. “so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:12). While in Ephesus, he also taught in the temple and laid hands on new believers so that they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
True to form, chaos also broke out in the city as there were people who opposed the message that Paul preached. The people worshipped the goddess Diana which the silversmiths made from silver. They made a lot of money from making these idols so they were concerned that Paul taught that there was only one true God. As people were converted to Christianity, they no longer desired to worship a man made God. The crafts men started an uproar in the city and this led to some of the disciples being arrested.
Paul left Ephesus and continued to a few other cities, preaching the gospel until he decided to return to Jerusalem. Paul had been warned not to return to Jerusalem, because there were plans to have him arrested for preaching about Jesus. “except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me” (Acts 20:23). Although Paul knew that his journey to Jerusalem would lead to his arrest, he was more concerned about doing the will of God. He was unmoved by his conviction to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and to fulfil his assignment.
Most of us experience light afflictions compared to what Paul and the other disciples experienced. We become easily discouraged when things don’t go according to plan or God does not answer a prayer on our schedule. Could we continue to trust God even if it meant risking our lives and our sense of comfort? Our salvation experience is a call to risk everything for the Lord Jesus Christ and to win the lost for Christ. Only what we do for God on this earth will last into eternity. What are you moved or disturbed by that you need to look at with a fresh perspective?
“so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
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