Another significant feature in Acts 21:1-16 is the value and importance Paul placed on fellowship. These verses give us a whistle-stop journey from Kos to Rhodes to Patara on to Tyre, Ptolemais and Caesarea, and in these latter places, Paul made a point of seeking out other believers and spending time with them:
We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. (Acts 21:4)
We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. (Acts 21:7-8)
After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples. (Acts 21:15-16)
This highlights for us the high value Paul placed on the Christian community. Far from being a lone ranger, he travelled with other believers, worked alongside local churches and, busy though he was, wanted to spend time with other Christians whenever the opportunity arose.
This year has proved a difficult year for Christian fellowship, since government regulations have been intent on social isolation as a means of suppressing the coronavirus. For many months, church services have been suspended and the normal means of regular fellowship have not been allowed. Hopefully this has shown us how much we need each other and heightened our appreciation of each other and the importance of fellowship. It is certainly possible to maintain fellowship through a variety of other means, but it is sadly also true that we can become used to this isolation and fail to appreciate the necessity for fellowship. Fear and apathy can mask our common need for community, and we need to take note from Paul’s example and seek out believers whenever we can, for we are built up by fellowship and strengthened and encouraged in the Lord as we gather together with other Christians. We can’t wait to be back together in our building next Thursday!