How do you greet people when you leave them? Sometimes when we have friends leaving us after a meal or coffee we would pray, but when departing on a long journey we would always have a round of prayer. We entrust ourselves to God as we entrust each other to God in our absence or perhaps for good. Please read:
Ac 21:5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. 7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
1) The ship ready to sail.
Ac 21:5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way.
After unloading the ship which took about one week, it was ready to sail onwards. On the one hand the offloading took much time due to everything being done by hand. On the other hand it gave the missionaries time with the believers in Tyre. Leaving the beloved in Christ always happens. Departures are inevitable … but how we leave each other is important …
2) The missionaries’ accompaniment.
Ac 21:5 All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.
It almost sounds like a family outing, yet there seems to be much more to this. Christian families enjoy spending time with Christian families. Christian families respect and love their spiritual leaders. Then considering the environment of the First Century, Christian families protected their Christian friends. Notice that before the missionaries boarded ship and the believers returned home, they had a prayer meeting on the beach. Prayer ought to be an integral part of Christian fellowship. I’m always impressed when Christians pray before a meal at a restaurant or at the airport with friends before flying. Like this beach prayer meeting, we ought to demonstrate our dependence upon God publically.
3) The journey from Tyre to Caesarea.
Ac 21:7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea.
Their forward journey from Tyre to Ptolemais resulted in meeting up with fellow believers before leaving for Caesarea the following day. Another reminder to meet up with believers wherever we can. 4) The evangelist named Philip.
Ac 21:8 and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
(1) Philip was one of the seven deacons chosen in
Ac 6:5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
The Greek for “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” applied to all the men chosen.
(2) Philip was not in Jerusalem. It seems odd at first that he would be away from the Church he was ordained in as ordination is for life. Why was he in Caesarea? It is most likely that after Stephen’s martyrdom, many of the believers (apart from the apostles) scattered throughout the region. Perhaps this is the reason he was not in Jerusalem.
(3) Philip was an evangelist. Just because he was a deacon does not mean he could not do Word Ministry. In fact, it was expected that deacons would do such things. If he was full of faith and the Holy Spirit he would most certainly be involved in growing the Church numerically, not just caring for physical needs amongst the flock. Here we have a prime example of how all Christian Workers, for most, would fall into the category of not being teaching or ruling elders, ought to serve Jesus … evangelism. Preaching or sharing the Gospel does not require a fixed or ordained office in the Church.
(4) Philip had four believing daughters.
Ac 21:9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
Again, this is an interesting sentence and has been construed to mean far more than it is mean to by both Luke and the Holy Spirit.
(a) Some writers belonging to the Church of Rome says these were the first nuns of the Christian Church. They were virgins, living at home with dad and under his authority and doing spiritual work. We argue against this teaching because, them being virgins (unmarried) necessitated them living with their father in that society. Further, there is no such office as “nun” being taught in the Bible.
(b) They were believers. Most likely through the evangelistic upbringing in Philip’s household they came to accept and believe in the doctrine of free grace to all who believe. One would naturally understand that Christian households live Gospel lives and teach this to the children. This does not mean children shall believe! Some might never … though unless they die in their lost-ness, only then may we say they have not believed.
(c) Philips daughters prophesied. Firstly, if this office were a public one, it would be in total opposition to everything Paul taught about male headship in ministry. Most likely it was exercised in private just as Pricilla would have explained the deeper Gospel Truths to Apollos. Secondly, the word “prophesied” means “foretelling future events pertaining to the Kingdom Of God”. Remember they did not have the written New Testament. All they had was the Old Testament and the Oral Tradition passed on from the apostles, including Paul. Although there is no recorded instance of these ladies using the gift, listening to their father as he evangelized would have brought to memory that there is a real heaven and a real hell, preceded by a real Judgment when Jesus returns. These are future events that would happen. In other words, they were lady evangelists, serving the Gospel in private wherever they could.
5) The prophet named Agabus. We remember him from earlier in Acts:
Ac 11:27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
Now we read:
Ac 21:10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
Here is a true prophet, not only speaking but demonstrating what will happen to Paul in Jerusalem. He did not dissuade him … he only provided information as to what awaited Paul. We shall return to this tomorrow.
Our Father, help us to be loving supporters of our spiritual leaders. Transform us into people of prayer where we willingly and openly pray. May we too be like Phillip, raising our children to know, love and serve Jesus as Lord. Amen.