Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Seven Days in Tyre

“21:1 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. [1] 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.” (Acts 21:1-6 (ESV)
The first part of this sounds like a modern day  travel itinerary for that cruise I keep wanting to take. Though I think I’d rather spend seven days in Rhodes, someday I will make it.
Paul stays in Tyre where the ship unloads its cargo. Tyre is famous throughout scripture as being a port town made wealthy with trade. Paul finds disciples there and stays with them for seven days. It took time to unload a ship, and to load it with new cargo.

Here the disciples he stays with, that is fellow Christians, constantly warn him not to continue. The Spirit warns of the dangers ahead. But Paul can’t listen to them. When the seven days are up, the congregation accompanies him to the beach where they pray at his departure. You get an insight into the hospitality of the early church here, and also again you see that Paul was a very beloved personality. Not only the men walk with Paul to give a farewell, but the children and wives also. Luke mentions this especially.  Presumably this is to show how much Paul had connected with the entire congregation, men women and children. Which would not have been expected at this time when women and children, both in Greek and Jewish cultures were often not only treated as second class citizens but often also separated and shielded from the general population. It wasn’t common for a man to be speaking to a woman that wasn’t his wife or daughter. Men spoke with men. But here, Paul makes an impact on all of them, he treats them all as equal, all worthy of the same gospel and the same love, because Christ has died for them all the same. 

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