Just Routine Travel
In the last couple of weeks Mary and I have driven from Texas to Alabama, flown from Birmingham to New Haven and back to Alabama, and finally driven back home to Texas. It’s summer and I’m sure that many of you, like us, have hit the road or flown in the air. In the first century when it came to traveling, sea was the fastest option, and there was no such thing as routine. Travel plans needed to reckon with the whims of wind and wave, and spring and summer were a lot less dangerous than the winter.
In the spring of AD 57 the Apostle Paul was near the end of his Third Missionary Journey with plans to be back in Jerusalem for Pentecost. It was the right season to travel, but Jerusalem was more than six hundred miles away, and the Feast was in five weeks. Paul would have to hurry. Dr. Luke is again personally on board with the team and here’s how he described the beginning of the journey.
“But going ahead to the ship, we sailed for Assos. Now Paul had made arrangements to make the journey by foot and then we would take him on board at Assos. He did meet us there, and we sailed on to Mitylene. From there the next day we came opposite the island of Chios, and the next day we came near the island of Samos, then to Miletus. Now Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus because he didn’t want to spend much time in Asia because, if possible, he intended to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. He would have to hurry.” Acts 20:13-16
Paul’s journey from Troas to Assos by foot would be difficult. It’s mountainous and rugged. The journey by sea that Luke and the rest of the team took around Cape Lectum could be treacherous. The travel distances Luke gives are short, one day sails. From Troas to Assos is twenty miles tracking southwest. From Assos you can see the island of Lesbos and its forty-four miles from Assos to Mitylene, the main city on Lesbos. Get some sleep and with one more day of sailing you arrive at Miletus, south of Ephesus.
Luke has us looking forward in his narrative to Pentecost in Jerusalem where the action will get tense but first Paul needs to give final instructions to the elders of the church in Ephesus. So he asks them to walk the thirty miles down to Miletus.
Travel is part of life and it’s part of the story as we live our lives. I’m thankful that Jesus travels with us in the routine of getting from place to place, and then gives us those special moments, like getting to hear our son-in-law complete his series on Romans in his new church in Tuscaloosa or seeing two of our granddaughters get baptized in the Long Island Sound.
LORD, thanks for moving two more of our grandkids to publicly declare their faith in Jesus in baptism and protect them as they do a lot of traveling the next couple of months. Guide Anchor Church in Tuscaloosa as they begin a new Sunday morning series.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!