11 June. Acts 16:13-15

11 June. Lydia becomes a follower of Jesus

"On the Sabbath day, we went outside the city gate [at Philippi] to the river where we thought we would find a special place for prayer."

"Some women had gathered there, so we sat down and talked with them. One of the listeners was a woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira whose job was selling [very expensive] purple cloth. She worshipped God [but wasn't a follower of Jesus], and he opened her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying."

"She and all the people in her house were baptised. Then she invited us to her home, saying, 'If you think I am truly a believer in the Lord, then come and stay in my house.' And she persuaded us to stay with her."

          (Acts 16:13-15)

 

 

The story of Lydia's conversion is fascinating if we read between the lines and follow up all the clues in the text!

Philippi was a Roman 'colonia' settled largely by retired Roman soldiers and their families. As there were few Jews in the city, there was no synagogue in Philippi. So Paul and his companions went to the riverbank just outside the city on the Sabbath day, and began to speak to the women gathered there, presumably to wash clothes, collect water, or just to have a chat.

One of them, Lydia – from Thyatira in the Roman province of Asia – was a wealthy dealer in expensive purple cloth (which only the most important Roman citizens - of which there would be a good number in Philippi - were allowed to wear).

The expensive purple dye was made from thousands of tiny murex shellfish. Thyatira was well known for its dyeing and garment making, and Lydia may have been an overseas agent for a Thyatiran manufacturer.

Lydia (who was probably a wealthy widow who had inherited her husband’s business) and all her household became believers. The household would have included young children, as well as slaves. They were all baptised as believers in the risen Lord Jesus, and her large town house (or ‘villa’) became Paul’s headquarters in Philippi.

Today, visitors to Philippi can still walk along the original route of the stone-paved Via Egnatia, and sit in the Roman amphitheatre – originally built by Philip II in the 4th century BC – or stroll across the Roman forum with its many shops, temples and public buildings.

The extensive remains of a number of 5th and 6th century early Christian churches have been joined more recently by a new church – Lydia’s Church – built beside the River Zygaktis where it’s believed that Paul and Silas met with the early believers and Lydia was baptised.

The photo shows Lydia's Church at Philippi.

You can see more photos of Philippi @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/10-pauls-journey-to-phryg…


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