Acts 19:1-12: God’s timing.

“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’         They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’  So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’  ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied.  Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.  Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.  11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to those who were ill, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” NIV UK


Previously, Paul and his companions had found the door into Asia ‘closed’. Now it was wide open (10), and the apostle had the most remarkable success there, as he based himself in the strategic city of Ephesus.

However, success in God’s work is not divorced from hard work. The only place where laziness comes before success is in the dictionary! It is likely that Tyrannus taught only in the mornings, since the custom in Ephesus was to have a siesta during the hot afternoons. Paul probably made tents in the mornings, to earn his living, and taught in the afternoons, rather than sleeping. During this time the churches in Colossae and Laodicea were also founded (Colossians 2:1; 4:13). It’s been suggested that all seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation may have been founded at this time.

‘It was wise on Paul’s part to remove the disciples and his work to their own premises, which soon became famous throughout the city and indeed throughout the adjacent country. People who had come in to worship at the shrine of Diana gave themselves to Christ, and the Christian faith became disseminated through the province, Ephesus itself being mightily moved.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, pp.495/496.

It’s possible to feel frustrated and perplexed when certain things don’t work out – I mean those times when you strongly sense that God wants you to do something, but you find your road mysteriously blocked. Recognise that God’s delays are not necessarily His denials, and if you want to walk in His will, you must also be prepared to move in His timing. You will not be disappointed, and hindsight will likely show you how right it was to wait.

PRAYER: Lord you know I’m keen to serve you. There is so much I want to do. Please grant me the patience that waits for you. I acknowledge that your will is best; your timing is perfect.