Paul’s farewell address to the leaders of the church at Ephesus (verses17-35) and his departure for Jerusalem (verses 36-38).
- Verses 17-27. Paul reviews his ministry at Ephesus. Notice, especially, what he says about his behavior, service, faithful preaching of Christ and the overriding ambition of his life.
As you measure your outward service and inward spirit against Paul’s in what respects do you fee; you come short?
- Verses 28-35. What counsel does Paul give those to whom God has given positions of leadership? How can they guard the flock against the dangers that threaten?
Have you begun to experience the truth of Christ’s words quoted in verse 35?
Paul’s journey from Paphos to Antioch involved an ascent of 3600 ft from the sea coast to a high plateau which was a flourishing region of Graeco-Roman civilization. This probably accounts for the return of John Mark, who was thus faced with more than he expected when he set out. Note also the presence in the synagogue at Antioch of two classes – Jews and God-fearing Gentiles (verses 16 and 26).
- In the first part of his address (verses 16-25), how does Paul show that the coming of Jesus was the culminating point in God’s activity in the history recorded in the Old Testament?
- When speaking of the resurrection (verses 30-39), what does Paul say about:
(a) The reasons for,
(b) the Old Testament prophecies about and
(c) the result of, Jesus resurrection?
Of what particular blessing is it a God-given pledge?
Cf. Rom. 4:25.
Note. Verse 39. Paul here sets by side two contracting methods of justification: the one, by the works of the law, failing to achieve the end desired; the other, through faith in Jesus, bringing the person into the immediate blessing of full justification. Cf. Phi. 3:6-9.
The city of Antioch, capital of the Roman province of Syria, was one of the three largest cities of the Empire. It was famous for its commerce, are and literature, and infamous for its vice and frivolity. It was to become ‘the jumping off point’ for Paul’s missionary journeys
- What was the distinctive feature that from the beginning marked the preaching of the gospel at Antioch, and with what far-reaching results?
- What stages marked the establishment of the church there, and what part did Barnabas play?
How can we teach and encourage young Christians?
- Verses 27-30. A young Gentile church helps the older church at Jerusalem.
Note the signs of this church’s vitality, influence and Christian spirit. Cf. 2:44, 45; 4:34-37.
Does your Christian faith find expression in practical giving like this?
Jesus’ prayer falls into three divisions:
(a) verses 1-5, for himself;
(b) verses 6-19, for the immediate circle of disciples;
(c) verses 20-26, for the great company who should afterwards believe.
- The hour of Jesus’ supreme has come (verse 1; cf. 2:4; 7:6, 30; 8:20; 13:1). How is this related to the glorifying of the Son and the Father (verses 1-4)?
Already the glory of God has been seen in Jesus (1:14); how is it seen also in his disciples (verse 22)?
When will they see the full glory of the Son (verses 5, 24)?
- In verses 6-14, note how many things Jesus has already done for his disciples.
- What does our Lord pray that the Father will do for those whom he has given him?
Is this prayer being answered in you?
Are you ‘truly sanctified’ (verse 19)?
- Verse 2. ‘Authority’, the whole of humanity lies within the sphere of Christ’s commission. Cf. Ps. 2:8; Matt. 28:18,19.
- Verse 5. A prayer that the glory, of which for a time he had ‘made himself nothing’ (Phil. 2:6, 7), might be restored to him.
- Verses 17, 19. Note the repetition of the word ‘sanctify’. Jesus sanctified himself to the holy Father in fulfillment of his perfect will, particularly in offering himself as the sacrifice for sin. Cf. Heb. 10:5-10. This shows what true sanctification involves.