When Paul wept- Wednesday, 7th Week in Easter – Acts 20:28-38

Paul’s farewell speech to the elders of Ephesus, whom he called to be with him in Miletus, now draws to an end. This address, the only one he makes to an entirely Christian community ends most emotionally and one can sense the great bond that Paul developed with the Ephesians, for it is here that he spent three years of his life during the last missionary journey.

Paul is no idealistic fool or sentimental leader. He is fully aware of the opposition faced by him in Ephesus both from the Greeks and the Jews. There were also the Judaizers, Jews who now followed Christ but who had rejected the decision of the council of Jerusalem which opened its doors to the Gentiles albeit with conditions. These Judaizers continued to be a thorn in Paul’s side, questioning his authority as apostle and his teachings. The seeds of doubt that they sowed were scattered in practically every city that Paul had ministered to.

Paul now entrusts the Church of Ephesus to be guarded by the elders; not only the care of the flock but also of themselves. Christian leaders are no strangers to the assault of the evil one. Jesus himself said that the shepherd will be struck and the sheep scattered. Paul wants the elders to guard themselves first from “the savage wolves “who ‘will spring from the flock’.

The enemies of Christ are not always an adversary standing outside the door of the Church but perhaps holding a prayer book inside. So how should the Christian leader protect oneself? This they must do by keeping communion with the Lord. The Christian leader must be in fellowship with the Lord or they cannot expect to be spiritual guides to “shepherd the Church.”

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