Acts 16:6 – 10
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Birhynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. Durigh the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
At first glance, our familiarity with images of angels bringing announcements might give us the view of the man hovering over the bed to be an angel. But, notice that he has no wings. Nor, is he in a cloud, such as Jesus, God the Father, the Virgin Mary are often depicted when interceding from heaven. No, he stands in a fog with his yellow cloak billowing. His left hand reaches out in supplication, and his right points toward Macedonia.
Near Paul’s feet is a cylindrical container filled with scrolls. Verse 10 uses the pronouns “we” and “us”. Previous passages described events in the third-person, “Paul and Barnabas”, et al. Who is “we”? Tradition names Luke as the recorder of the history of Jesus and the Apostles. His gospel is the most detailed in the events. Thus, tradition has Luke continuing his biographical role by having him travel with Paul, and writing the Acts of the Apostles somewhere around 70 to 80 ACE, after Peter’s and Paul’s martyrdoms. The scrolls allude to Luke’s notes, from which he would later compile the church history.
My favorite story about Luke, which I learned about while researching our trip to Rome, was that he was foremost a painter. In addition to writing his gospel and apostolic history, he painted everything from the nativity through the crucifixion and early martyrdoms. Here is a panel in the museum at Santa Maria Maggorie, showing Luke painting a Madonna and Child. Luke’s portrait-portrait is the panel on the right. What I missed in the Baptist church!