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Week 3 November 2022, Devotion Part 1

…Trophimus I left ill at Miletus. 2 Timothy 4:20

Is this crisp one-liner a hard pill to swallow? Does Paul seem coldly dismissive toward the sick man when compared with the warmth that characterizes his swan song from Rome? “Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth; Trophimus I left ill at Miletus. Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”

According to Acts 20:4 and 21:29, Trophimus was an Ephesian who traveled with Paul. It was in his city that God performed spectacular miracles “by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs…were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out” (Acts 19:11-12). While briefly in Troas, Paul gave an excessively long farewell speech that caused a sleepy young man to plunge to his death. No problem, said the apostle, who brought him back to life and kept talking (Acts 20:9-11). There is no hint of regret about leaving sick Trophimus behind. On the contrary, a mood of supreme confidence pervades Paul’s final communication, “For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith.” It was his head Paul could not keep. (Part 1 of 2)

Comment: Brace yourself for a piece of advice that will pay off handsomely. As I discovered along the way, being satisfied with reading just a brief verse as introduction to a devotion, is akin to popping a vitamin pill. If you want the bread and meat of true biblical nourishment, start reading the whole chapter for context. Over time you go from discipline to delight, from routine to the relational promise of Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That’s precisely where I’m now! Having the freedom to indulge my passion for writing at age 87, beats winning a cruise or wild applause on AGT for my standup comedy.

The point is this: Having been sucked into the world of the “Great Artemis of the Ephesians” and sickened by it, thanks to Trophimus I immersed myself into Paul’s world that brought on the riot. Read Acts 19 thoughtfully for yourself and be blown away also.


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