THE MACEDONIA CALL (ACTS 16:6-10). Passing through Galatia Phrygia, and being directed by the Spirit of Jesus not to preach at this time in the province of Asia nor in Bithynia, they passed through Mysia and came to Troas.
TROAS. Troas was directly to the east of Mysia; Bithynia was a senatorial province northeast of Mysia. The city was ten miles south of the more famous ancient Troy. Two major routes from the East toward Rome converged at Troas so those traveling from Asia to Macedonia passed through its port. It had a mixed population of Roman citizens and natives who never quite adjusted to one another’s presence.
Two things happened at Troas. First, Paul had a vision in which a Macedonia man urged him to come with his message and help them. This vision was interpreted as meaning that God was directing the missionaries into Europe. Second, Luke, the author of the Third Gospel and the Book of Acts, joins the team. His joining is indicated by the “we” in 16:10.
LUKE. At Troas, Paul’s biographer enters the apostle’s inner circle. He is the first Gentile Christian to become a partner with Paul. And what a partner he turned out to be. “Only Luke is with me,” so wrote Paul late in life, from a Roman prison; this is one of the evidences of their close relationship. Luke was a physician, historian, evangelist, and missionary. For all the hardships of life Paul experienced, Paul needed a person physician. The beloved Doctor Luke treated Paul’s frail health and perhaps added years to his life. God’s grace is amazing; He supplies our needs beyond measure.
Jerome and Eusebius say that Luke was born a Greek in Antioch and he became a physician before being converted and joining Paul, Silas and Timothy in Troas. Several conjectures have been made about Luke:
(1) that Paul became acquainted with Luke when the latter studied medicine at the University of Tarsus; (2) that Luke was a freedman because his name ended with “as”—a common ending for slaves; and (3) that he was born in the household of Theophilus, a wealthy government official in Antioch.
Luke was shipwrecked with Paul on Malta. He was with the apostle during both Roman imprisonments. Between the two imprisonments he wrote over one half of the NT—the Gospel of Luke and Acts.
One prologue from the second century to the Gospel of Luke reads: “Having neither wife nor child, [Luke] served the Lord without distraction. He fell asleep in Boeotia, at the age of 84, full of the Holy Spirit.” Constantine the Great transported Luke’s remains to Constantinople in A.D. 356, where it is said that they are preserved in the Church of Apostles.
Paul conferred with Silas, Timothy and Luke over the meaning of the vision and they concluded that God had called them to preach the Gospel in Macedonia. One can but wonder what might have been the result if they had not pushed on to Troas, but had turned back to Cappadocia and Pontus, to Armenia and Babylonia, to India and China. Christian history would not have run the same course.