30 June. Acts 20:13-38

30 June. Paul meets the elders from Ephesus for the last time

"We went on ahead of Paul and sailed for the city of Assos, where he wanted to join us on the ship... When he met us there, we took him aboard and went to Mitylene. We sailed from Mitylene and the next day came to a place near Chios. The following day we sailed to Samos, and the next day we reached Miletus..."

"Now from Miletus Paul sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. When they came to him, he said, 'You know the way I lived all the time I was with you [in Ephesus]. The Jews made plans against me, which troubled me very much. But you know I always served the Lord unselfishly, and I often cried.'..."

"'I warned both Jews and Greeks to change their lives and turn to God and believe in our Lord Jesus. But now I must obey the Holy Spirit and go to Jerusalem. I don't know what will happen to me there. I know only that in every city the Holy Spirit tells me that troubles and even jail wait for me. I don't care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission.... to tell people the Good News about God's grace.'"

"'And now, I know that none of you among whom I was preaching the kingdom of God will ever see me again.... I know that after I leave, some people will come like wild wolves and try to destroy the flock. Also some from your own group will rise up and twist the truth and will lead away followers after them.'..."

"'Now I am putting you in the care of God and the message about his grace. It is able to give you strength, and it will give you the blessings God has for all his holy people.'..."

"When Paul had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. And they all cried because Paul had said [correctly] they would never see him again. They put their arms around him and kissed him. Then they went with him to the ship."

          (Acts 20:13-38)



From Troas, Paul set off down the west coast of Asia Minor in the spring of 57AD (see 7 on the map on 28 June) and stayed for a few days at Miletus.

Miletus was an important port and commercial centre, with a huge amphitheatre, a large agora (market place) and many pagan temples. It was situated on a branch of the River Meander (Menderes) that has since silted up, leaving the Roman harbour high and dry.

In Paul’s day, pilgrims travelled along the Sacred Way from Miletus to the Temple of Apollo at nearby Didyma (Didim), where Alexander the Great had consulted the Oracle in 334BC before the siege of Halikarnassos (Bodrum) and his victory over King Darius of Persia at the Battle of Issus.

Here, in this centre of pagan worship, Paul sent a message to the leaders of the church in Ephesus (some 80 km / 50 miles away) and they joined Paul in Miletus for a farewell gathering.

Paul recalled the three years he had stayed with Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus from 53 to 56AD, and warned them that he would face persecution from the Jews and imprisonment when he returned to Jerusalem. Then they all wept when they realised they would never see him again.

Shakespeare once wrote, "Parting is such sweet sorrow". This sums up, perhaps, the mixed feelings of joy tinged with regret and foreboding that the Ephesian elders must have felt as they bade farewell to Paul for the last time.

The photo shows the Baths of Faustina at Miletus.

You can read more about Miletus @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/11…/paul-sails-to-miletus/

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