6 “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:6–10 (ESV)
Who exactly was this man of Macedonia? Today’s text provides us with some information.
First, he appeared in Paul’s vision in the night. Second, he stood before the apostle and continuously urged, pleaded and earnestly encouraged Paul and his companions to come to Macedonia. Third, the reason given for this earnest plea was for the apostle and his men to come to the aid of those living in Macedonia. The aid spoken of would most likely have been the spiritual help only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can provide (Acts 16:10).
However, back to our original question. Who was this man of Macedonia? He most likely is a visual representation of a Macedonian who needed to hear the Gospel. God used this visionary picture to reveal His will Paul.
Macedonia was a Roman province in NT times, beginning as a kingdom in the seventh century bc. With arrival of the Greek King Philip II (359–336 bc), and especially of his son Alexander III (the Great, 336–323 bc), Macedonia became a world power.
After Alexander’s death, the empire was divided among his successors into several regions, one of them the original Macedonian kingdom. Political instability held sway for the next 150 years, and in 167 bc Macedonia came under Roman rule. Initially divided into four districts by the Romans (Acts 16:12 is a possible reference to this division), this territory was made into a Roman province in 14 bc with Thessalonica as its capital. From ad 15–44, Macedonia was combined with Achaia and Moesia (other parts of Greece) into one large province.
One commentator writes, “The Roman province of Macedonia included the northern region of Greece and southern sections of present-day Albania, Yugoslavia (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), and Bulgaria. Noted for its gold, silver, timber, and farmlands, the region also served as a land route for trade between Asia and the West. Shortly after the Romans incorporated Macedonia as a province, they built the Via Egnatia, a paved road over 500 miles (804.5 kilometers) long, running from the Adriatic coast to the Aegean, no doubt traveled by the apostle Paul as he moved through the Macedonian cities of Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, and Thessalonica (Acts 16:11–12; 17:1).”
It should be noted that the personal pronouns distinctively change in Acts 16:10. Instead of the third person plural pronoun “they,” Luke began using the second person plural pronoun “we” and “us.” It is most likely that Luke joined the team as they prepared to journey towards Greece. The team of three becomes a foursome.
The LORD wanted Paul in Macedonia It would be in this region that the LORD would establish many churches through His faithful stewards and servants. The gospel would be preached, souls would be saved and churches would be established.
Much like the Apostle Paul, be encouraged today that whatever circumstances you encounter, the LORD can use them to accomplish His sovereign will. He is using you for His glory.
Soli deo Gloria!