Acts 20:13 – 38
We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. The next day we sailed from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible by the day of Pentecost.
From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardship are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
“Now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I went about preaching God’s Kingdom, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you today that I am clean from the blood of all men, for I didn’t shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Take heed, therefore, to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood. For I know that after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears.
Now, brothers, I entrust you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver, gold, or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands served my necessities, and those who were with me. In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
When he had spoken these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. They all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all because of the word which he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
What’s Going On?
Paul has traveled to Miletus on his way to Jerusalem.
He called the Jesus followers from Ephesus to join him.
He gives a farewell address before boarding the ship.
What Are We Seeing?
Paul has given his farewell address and is now accompanied by other Jesus followers to the ship.
The Jesus followers attempt to persuade him to stay.
He gestures toward his mission and travels aboard the ship.
Quote – Fresco 20
However, as very clearly appears in St. Paul’s letters, Christian freedom is never identified with libertine or with the will to do as one pleases; it is actuated in conformity to Christ and hence in authentic service to the brethren and above all to the neediest.
Pope Benedict XVI