Friday, 15 September 2023
And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. Acts 20:14
The Greek reads, “And when he met with us at Assos, having taken him up, we came to Mitylene” (CG).
In the previous verse, the missionaries were set to sail for Assos while Paul took the journey on foot. Now, Luke’s words continue with, “And when he met with us at Assos.”
Without any comment as to why the two parties traveled separately and without any details of their meeting up, other than that they met, it is apparent that it occurred as planned. It isn’t even sure which arrived first. The words simply indicate that they came together. With that, Luke next records, “having taken him up, we came to Mitylene.”
Paul got on board, and they departed. Their first stop is noted as Mitylene. This was, and still is, the capital of the island known as Lesbos. It is about 30 miles south of Assos and just off the west coast of Anatolia. The island is one of the largest in the Aegean Sea and is the seventh largest in the Mediterranean. Its total circumference is about 168 miles. As for the name of the location, Abarim says –
“The name Mitylene comes from the adjective μιτυλος (mitulos), which in turn is related to the familiar Latin word mutilus, from which comes our English verb ‘to mutilate.’ How and from what the Greek language derived our word μιτυλος (mitulos) isn't clear but from its sparse usages it appears that it was solely used in the meaning of hornless.”
This location, Hornless, is noted only this one time in the Bible.
Life application: Paul spent the entire last night at Troas talking to the disciples there. He then got up and walked the distance from Troas to Mitylene. As those on the ship met him there, it is apparent he didn’t sleep the entire time it took to meet up with them. It makes guessing why he determined to walk all the more curious.
It is, however, good to stop and consider such things because we can then evaluate our own paths that we decide to take. Paul may or may not have walked that particular area before, but he knew that Mitylene awaited him. It is good to set out on a new path at times, but there has to be a reason for doing so. There also needs to be a goal at the end that is expected. If not, you will be ambling blindly.
This doesn’t mean we at all control our steps. We may not make it till tomorrow morning. But if we do, we should at least have a plan for when we get there. In the meantime, we should include the Lord in the process. The words of James instruct us on this –
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” James 4:13-15
Heavenly Father, direct our steps according to Your wisdom. We do have to plan them, but our plans are still at Your allowance. So, Lord, may the two be harmoniously put together through Your guiding hand. We look to You for each breath, so if it is Your will, may our plans be in accord with what You would have us do. Amen.