Friday, June 15, 2012
Paul’s entourage grows as Timothy joins Paul and Silas at Lystra. Because his mother was Jewish, Paul has Timothy circumcised (his father was Greek). Although this seems to contradict everything Paul has argued in the previous situation (and in the entire letter to the Galatians), we must remember that Paul is a pragmatist and with everyone in the area knowing who Timothy’s parents were, having him circumcised causes less of a disturbance than not doing so.
In 6-10 there are two things to note. One is that with the invitation to “go across to Macedonia” the Gospel intentionally crosses from Asia (Middle East) into Europe for the first time. The second thing to notice is that in verse 10 the pronouns change. Up to this point of the story Luke has referred to Paul’s group in the third person “they”. Notice that in verse 10 the pronoun changes to “we”. This indicates that the writer, Luke the Physician, has now joined the entourage.
11 and following we have the first converts in Macedonia. Appropriately, the first convert is a Jewish woman named Lydia. She is a woman of some means (a seller of purple cloth would only be working with the most affluent in an area because it was very expensive). She, and her entire household, become followers of Christ and are baptized. Lydia is from an area of Macedonia where women lived somewhat emancipated lives. Women could own property and, clearly, could own and run their own businesses.