Roman Province of Macedonia.
Friday, 21 April 2023
Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:10
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In the previous verse, Paul had seen the vision of a man of Macedonia pleading with him to come over there and help them. With that, Luke now records, “Now after he had seen the vision.”
The words don’t mean “sometime after.” Rather they give the sense of, “Now when he had seen the vision.” As soon as it occurred the next event took place. That is seen in the next word, “immediately.”
As the vision was in the night, it can be assumed that Paul excitedly told the others about what he had seen, and they started planning to make the necessary arrangements to go where they had been called to. With that, the first “we” section of the book of Acts begins. Until this point, it has been a narrative about others, such as “Paul and Barnabas did this,” or “they went to Troas.” However, the words now go to the first-person plural, saying, “we sought to go to Macedonia.”
The obvious conclusion is that Luke had joined them in Troas. Nothing is said about how this came about. It could be that he was living there at the time, or maybe Paul had sent word to him to join the group there. However it occurred, Luke has become a part of the ongoing narrative. Together with the others, they were “concluding that the Lord had called us.”
Paul was certain that the vision wasn’t just a dream. Rather, like Peter’s vision before, he understood it to be of divine origin, having been directed by the Lord. It is worthy of note that some manuscripts (such as the Alexandrian, Vulgate, and Ethiopian) say “God” instead of “Lord.” As Jesus is God, the change doesn’t affect the narrative substantially.
As for the use of “us” in these words, it clearly indicates that Luke was immediately considered a part of the team and he was an integral part of the calling that took place. This not only identifies him as a chronicler of the events of Acts, but he was also an evangelist in his own right. This is seen in the fact that he was a part of those called “to preach the gospel to them.”
There are several things that become obvious when considered. The efforts of the men in the Asian provinces were frustrated. It can be certain that wherever they were, they attempted to share the gospel without any success or that they knew their efforts were not fruitful in their evangelization at that time.
With each movement of the team, it was as if their feet were being led until they came to Troas. Upon arrival there, they were suddenly directed by Paul’s vision. At the same time, Luke had joined them. And with the vision of the calling of the man from Macedonia, it foreshadowed the presence of the Lord in that area. Thus, the providence of God is behind each step of the journey.
Life application: The events occurring in Acts are a descriptive account of what occurred. This includes Luke’s inclusion of himself in the narrative at this time. Nothing has been prescribed for the reader to do or to apply to his own walk with the Lord. The fact that Paul had a vision does not mean that visions are to be expected in our own lives to direct where we should go or what we should do.
In fact, supposed visions in more recent times have led to some of the greatest apostasies of the faith. The visions of Joseph Smith and Ellen G. White have led millions of people into false religion. The only conclusion that can be made is that their visions were either made up lies or that they were of satanic origins. They cannot be of God because they contradict the writings found in Scripture.
This is true with innumerable other visions that people have claimed and continue to claim to this day. Where will you put your trust? It is so easy to be led astray by convincing-sounding people who claim to have a pipeline to the divine. But the fact is that you already have one. It is the Bible.
God has given His word, and He has provided what you need to know concerning your walk before Him. It is sufficient. Stick to the word and don’t bother with the claims of others who say they have more than the word to offer you. Such things are unnecessary and unhelpful. Be assured of this.
Lord God, thank You for Your word. It is sufficient to guide us on our path as we walk in Your presence from day to day. Help us to spend our time wisely by searching out its treasures and rightly applying its precepts. Surely in this, we will be pleasing to You. Thank You for Your precious and sacred word. Amen.