Acts 18: 21 As he left, however, he said, “I will come back later, God willing.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 The next stop was at the port of Caesarea. From there he went up and visited the church at Jerusalem and then went back to Antioch. 23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all the believers.
Luke ends Paul’s second trip and begins Paul’s third trip in these few verses. More things that these must have happened. Paul would have had to travel, probably by foot, from Caesarea to get to Jerusalem. There he would have fulfilled his Nazirite vow at the temple (Acts 18:18). More than likely he would have shared how his second mission trip had gone with the Jerusalem elders. Then he would have walked 300 miles to the north to return to his sending church in Antioch. There he stayed for “some time.” When he left Antioch, he went overland by foot towards Ephesus. Along the way, he would have visited the churches that were planted on his first missionary trip.
Why would Luke be so brief about these details? I think it is because Luke wants to emphasis the church planting aspect of Paul’s calling. Paul is faithful to persevere in his call to preach the Gospel. Paul’s model is Jesus Christ Himself.
Jesus was faithful to go to the cross and die for our sins. He persevered under severe trial yet completed what His Father had for Him.
Mark 10: 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Phil. 2: 8 He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!
As followers of Christ, we are also called to be faithful to persevere. Each of us has a calling from God. Our callings are different, but all are to serve in some way. As we have seen from the story of Paul’s second mission trip, there will be opposition and a spiritual battle. But Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit is always with us in the battle. Jesus promises us in Rev. 2: 10 Do not yield to fear in the face of the suffering to come but be aware of this: the devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison to test your faith. For ten days you will have distress but remain faithful to the day you die, and I will give you the victor’s crown of life.
To hear more about Paul’s second mission trip, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere
[1,3] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.