Easter familiar v unfamiliar experiences.
Acts 27:5 “When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.”
If you simply found a map of Turkey it would be easy to find the coast- line of Cilicia and Pamphylia and the town of Myra in the region of Lycia.
The port of Cilicia, which is in modern-day Turkey, was a colony of Rhodes.
Pamphylia is north-east of Rhodes.
Myra is a little east of Patara.
Why do I say all this? It is because Paul has been this way before. His journey to Rome is along familiar territory.
“After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara.” Acts 21:1
In Chapter 21 they tore themselves away from Ephesus and went through Greece to Kos and then south of Turkey.
So here we are again, this time on the way to Rome and Paul is recognising the places he has seen before. Yet this time there was something unfamiliar and that was he knew he would arrive in Rome and not Jerusalem, the place where he arrived last time. Rome was his ultimate destination, the opportunity to tell Caesar Jesus loved him, the place of Paul’s total surrender.
You may not think you are heading down familiar territory today. You may be experiencing everything for the first time and you may even be anxious about that. The truth is life is a constant mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar.
When Jesus walked through the streets of Jerusalem heading to Calvary this was familiar territory, he had gone through this route many times.
Matthew 26:2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
He says “You disciples know something and so do I. You know the calendar, you know when the Passover is as it happens every year and I know what will happen this time.” Nothing happened in holy week that Jesus didn’t know would happen and yet he also was experiencing the unfamiliar in that though he had seen crucifixion and knew he would go through it, he had never experienced the pain of the curse and separation.
As it was for Jesus, for Paul, it is for you.
Look around you carefully and you will see the familiar and the unfamiliar.
The first can speed you up and the second can slow you down.
The first can reveal your confidence and the second needs you to trust your God.
The first has victories and failures and the second reserves its judgment.
The first has more to do with the journey and the second is focused on the destination.
Wisdom differentiates the territories. You need to recognise and adapt to both.