Our Easter companion
Acts 27:2 “We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.”
Aristarchus “was with us”. It isn’t a surprise really as he never left. He had known the experience of being seized in Ephesus when the whole city was in uproar against Paul. He was in the team of responsible disciples who accompanied Paul with the collection for the church in Jerusalem. It appears that he stays by the side of Paul through the 2 years of his imprisonment and then finally ends up being a prisoner himself (Colossians 4:10) when they arrive into Rome.
Have you got a friend who has never left you, but was there throughout your journey? Have you got a friend who knows what it is to be attacked like you, who can be trusted, who when you are at your weakest and least empowered stays by your side and who will even be judged with you?
After Jesus preached concerning his death, see what happened:
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:66
On that first Palm Sunday as he entered into Jerusalem, Jesus was highly popular and supported by his strong team of disciples. Even when the crowd were being persuaded to change their mind on Jesus and Jesus spoke further about what would happen to him, Peter led the way and the rest followed in their support, “”Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.” Mark 14:31.
But then see what happened: “Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away.” Mark 14:50
As Jesus arrived at his destiny the 6 friends who were still there with him were his mother, John, Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene (John 19:25) and probably the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27:56).
Be thankful for the friend/s that remains by your side as you journey to your destiny. Some have been there all the time and some are drafted in and yes some drift away. This is the Easter journey for Christ and it will be your experience too.
I cannot finish this devotion without thinking of those few words again, “was with us”. From the beginning of his life here on earth, Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), to the end commissioning, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), Jesus promises us the constant presence of God as we journey to the ends of the world and the ends of our age.
Even if all our friends walk away, He will always be ‘with us”.