Acts 27:2 “We boarded a ship from Adramyttium that was bound for Ephesus and ports west. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, went with us.”
Not much is known about Paul’s friend, Aristarchus. He was one of those “faithful companions” of the apostle Paul, who shared with him his labors and sufferings. He is mentioned along with Gaius in Acts 19. He later shows up in Acts 20 as someone who travels with Paul from Greece. Needless to say, he had firsthand knowledge of the amazing things God was doing, yet also shared the suffering and persecution that Paul was facing. Despite the difficulties, he chooses to continue on with Paul for the sake of the Kingdom. It is here, in Acts 27, that we find Paul yet again, facing a literal storm while doing exactly what God had called him to do.
This raises a serious question: Why does Paul experience such difficulty when he is obviously in the center of God’s will? After all, God appeared to Paul in Jerusalem and told him that wanted him to go to Rome, that he would take him there, and that he must appear before the emperor (Acts 23:11). Paul wasn’t disobedient or running away from the vision God had given him and, yet, everything that could go wrong seems to be going wrong on the journey.
As the details of the journey to Rome unfolds through chapter 27, I wonder what the conversations between Aristarchus and Paul were like? Personally, my temptation would be to question the vision that God gave me, to complain to God about the storm when I’m trying to do what he has called me to do, or possibly even become bitter towards God for the way things are unfolding. Yet in my spirit, I know the conversations were probably much different. I think that these two friends encouraged each other as the other struggled through the journey.
You can almost hear them reminding each other of God’s faithfulness in seasons past. The unspoken seems to permeate the pages, as you see Paul’s bold faith respond to each new difficulty. I think the reason Aristarchus is included in the chapter is because his companionship to Paul was monumental to how Paul led. Having a trusted companion walking out life with you, is one of the greatest gifts God gives us.
Someone recently asked me, “Who will carry your casket?” I want you to consider the same question. Who continually encourages you and points you to renew your faith? Who encourages the calling of God in your life? Who are you walking out life with? Who is here for you now and you trust them to be with you until the end?
Begin to consistently pray for God to bring you an ‘Aristarchus’ and/or continually intercede for the encouraging companions in your life.
God, help me to recognize those who you have placed in my life to be an encouragement to me, and help me to encourage them as well. Let our conversations always release the kingdom of heaven into the atmosphere. Amen.
My Testimony by Elevation Worship