In our Wednesday evening class, we have been studying through the book of Acts. For the last several weeks, we have journeyed along with Paul from his conversion, through three mission trips, and up to his Roman imprisonment. Paul has endured betrayal, beatings, stoning, shipwreck, snakebite, and fear. He has also come to appreciate the encouragement and love that can only come from being with brothers and sisters in Christ.
When Paul, as a prisoner, finally makes it to Rome, fellow Christians who have heard of his arrival come to meet him. Paul has spent months on a journey, by sea, that would have caused any of us to long for dry land. Think of images we have all seen, of those who have been lost at sea, once finally setting foot on land, immediately falling and kissing the earth.
Paul, however, is not comforted by the stability or surety of land; instead, his needed encouragement comes from seeing and being with the brethren. In Acts 28:15, we read that “when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” Having endured trials that we will never face, Paul found encouragement by gathering together with those who shared Christ, by seeing other Christians.
As we grow spiritually, both as members and as the body of Christ, let’s be encouraged by seeing and being with each other. Let’s remember the love of God that we share, and thank Him for the time we have together.