When in doubt or when confronted with our own desires as opposed to God’s direction, a vision becomes a clear presentation of what needs to be done. In this case of the vision of a Macedonian man begging for Paul to come, we know the vision came about because of the hope of the gospel but specifically this is not mentioned. As the story unravels, this becomes more clear.
In fact, maybe the man was not really a man – maybe it was Lydia – as she is their first and powerful encounter, maybe he was the spirit possessed slave girl, or maybe the Roman jailer and his family – you get the point – “come.” Come to share the gospel – to hear how my life can be transformed by God who raised Jesus from the dead and then raised Him and subsequently us, to new life. With my rental car this week I receive satellite radio and am enjoying The Message. They are advertising a special called – Chains Broken. The call for help was for people to be set free from being all that God has purposed us to be and to learn how they could be a blessing to others.
Take the first encounter – Lydia. She is already a follower of God, practiced going to the synagogue, praying with the women and discussing what they had heard and hoping that the next visiting preacher expound on something more. She wanted to worship and did not understand how.
This vision was an introduction to two new themes in the book of Acts – needs and openness – two awesome mission initiatives that motive ministries like Partners International.
When people are open and when people are hurting – the gospel moves forward. Are we ourselves not finding ourselves in a spirit of hope when we sit during the presentation of the gospel – are we not asking ourselves – will my suffering be alleviated and what does God want me to do?
During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. – Acts 16:9-10