Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman…
In the intercourse of the great apostle with Timothy, and the history of the latter, we have an interesting episode.
I. THE YOUNG DISCIPLE. His case shows:
1. The blessing of a pious mother. The mother's love gives force to all her lessons, sanctity to the curliest of life's recollections. "Knowing of whom thou hast learned them."
2. The blessing of Christian society. He enjoyed the testimony of the brethren in Lystra and Iconium. Not only the good influences we receive from Christian brethren, but the certificate which their good will and commendation affords us, is to be considered.
3. The blessing of sound instruction. He had an apostle for his teacher. There were things he had "heard and been assured of" from those weighty lips.
4. These advantages turboed to account, he was the pride and consolation of his mother, and the more so as her husband was an unbeliever. He was an ornament to his community, as we may see from the Epistles to Timothy, from Philippians 2:22 and 1 Corinthians 16:10; and a joy and support of the apostle.
II. SPECIAL ENCOURAGEMENT FOR CHRISTIAN MOTHERS.
1. How many examples have we not of devout mothers in the Old and New Testaments! Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Mary, the mother of Jesus; Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children; Eunice, the mother of Timothy. And with these may be compared Monica, the mother of Augustine.
2. A mother's prayers are as guardian angels about the life of her child; and the godly son possesses the happy harvest of a mother's tears.
3. The mother's early influence is the best preparation for future service. Paul laid stress upon it; and the happy connection between himself and the disciple - so fruitful for both and for the world - rested upon the early foundation laid by the mother. - J. Vers. 9-15. -
The journey to -Macedonia: the happy beginning. The transplantation of the gospel into Europe was a great epoch. We see the seed-corn of the kingdom germinating and growing from small beginnings.
I. THE PROVIDENTIAL INDICATIONS. It came, as on many occasions to prophets and men called and sent of God, in a vision of the night. The Macedonian appears and cries, "Cross into Macedonia, and come to our aid!" From the 'Confessions' of St. Patrick, the evangelist of Ireland, a dream is cited, in which, by a letter addressed to him, with the inscription, "The voice of the Irish," he was called as a missionary to Ireland, where he had spent some years of his youth, having been captured and enslaved by pirates. Let us regard this vision as an allegory of the constant cry of the heathen world, "sitting in darkness and the shadow of death," to the loving sympathy of Christian hearts. "Christians, help poor Patagonians!" is the refrain of a plaintive mission song. It is a cry that rises from the lands of the West to the lands of the East in this narrative; and again it becomes, in the course of history, a cry from the East to the West. It may sound again from now so-called Christian lands, should our candlestick be removed from its place, and the gospel light pass over to those who prove themselves more worthy to enjoy it. May we know the day of our visitation!
II. THE HAPPY CONSEQUENCES.
1. There was quick apprehension of the Divine command. They gathered (Luke glides into the narrative) that God had called them to preach. The presence of the Divine Leader, manifesting itself in such indications, is everything in these new enterprises. "Jesus, still lead on!" He was already before them in Macedonia, and the vision assured them of this. Here is a great lesson. So soon as we are assured of the direction of the Divine will, let us be prompt to obey.
2. They enjoyed a straight course to their destination. If a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes his enemies to be at peace with him, and the winds and waves to be calm as he proceeds. Their confidence grew at every step of their cruise. "'Hearty welcome! ' cried Europe" (Bengal).
3. The arrival. They came to Philippi, the chief city of that part of Macedonia. The arrival at a great city for the first time is an impressive moment in one's life. Who can see the dome of St. Peter's in the distance the first time without a thrill? The city is the epitome of mankind. Great cities have great vices, but likewise contain eminent virtues and flowers of piety. Poets, prophets, and apostles have generally found their sphere in the busy town life.
4. The leading of events. The sabbath day came, and the Christian missionary band repaired to the banks of the river. How good the simple devotional habit! We are ever in the way of getting good and doing good when in the way to prayer. How simple and natural the true method of fulfilling a Divine call!
"The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask." We do not need to create opportunities; they lie to our hand. Work is always waiting for willing and called workers. All places are suitable for prayer: the field (Genesis 24:63), the shore (Acts 21:5), the prison (Acts 16:25), and here the river.
5. The woman's heart conquered to Christ. Not by conversion en masse, but by gaining the hearts of individuals, does the gospel proceed. The kingdom of God is like seed sown in the ground. When it takes root in but one life, how great may be the results! The noble Church at Philippi, which gave the apostle so much joy, sprang from the conversion of Lydia. How beautiful is the description: "Her heart the Lord opened" ] The teacher's voice strikes vainly upon the ear, until God opens the heart. But the heart may refuse to open and the word runs, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man will," etc. True works of a heart divinely and graciously opened are named. Here is humility - she submits herself to the judgment of Christians more advanced. Teachableness, thankfulness to God, busy love and kindness, the setting of a good example. She dedicates her house, with herself, to the service of Christ. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: