“And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and the three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage” (Acts 28:15).
We’re often gripped with anxious moments as we face new or different situations. It seems it was no different with Paul. Though he was the great apostle of grace, he evidently had some anxiety or fear of what he faced in Rome. Rather than inventing or enhancing fears, our focus in this article is his response of thankfulness to God for His provision.
Years of trials, travel, and travail led up to this last leg of Paul’s journey to Rome. His life literally hung in the balance of the whim of Caesar. Yet during his approach to Rome, God sent brethren, who longed to see him, out to meet him.
These were probably some of those mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Though we don’t know who or how many came to meet him, Paul was on a first name basis with twenty-four Roman brethren and was acquainted with many more he mentioned in general terms in the closing of that letter.
Two that stand out in the list would be Aquila and Priscilla. These two, of kindred spirit with Paul, had previously risked their lives for him (Rom. 16:4). What would hold them back from going out to receive him at a time like this?
Thus, we find Paul thanked God at the very sight of the brethren that met him on the road that day. and he received courage. The word courage in the New Testament is used as a noun only here; but as a verb, it is used eight other times. For instance, God gave Paul courage in Acts 23:11 when He assured Paul that he would be going to Rome. This meeting brought him courage.
Just as Paul thanked God for his meeting with brethren, others may be thankful for meeting with you. God can use what we may consider insignificant for His glory.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.