On a long journey, we need places where we can rest. For God's people, their whole lives seem like such a journey (Genesis 47:9; Psalm 119:54; Hebrews 11:13-16). Their real home is not on this earth, but with Christ in heaven (John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21-23). However, as Christ guides them through this world, he also provides places for them to pause and to rest (Psalm 23:1-3).
Paul's life really was a continuous journey; he was constantly travelling. However, God provided various places where Paul could remain for a period of time. Paul did not stop his work at those times. Rather, he was free from many of the pressures and strains that he usually had in his life. So, he could work quietly and perhaps he had more opportunity for rest and prayer.
One such place for Paul was Corinth. He probably wrote the Book of Romans on his return to that city. Paul describes his plan for that visit in 1 Corinthians 16:6-7. He hoped to spend the winter in Greece with Corinth's young and eager Christians. Acts 20:2-3 shows that he actually did remain there for three months.
Paul expected no such opportunity for rest in Jerusalem, the next city that he visited. He already knew that many people there opposed him fiercely (see Acts 9:28-30, which describes his experiences on a previous visit there). Paul was right to expect trouble there, as Acts chapters 21 to 23 show.
However, Paul hoped for a time of rest at Rome. He probably did not expect that rest as a prisoner - however, that is what happened (Acts 28:16-31). For two years, Paul remained a prisoner there, unable to leave his own home. During that time, Paul met with people and he was free, although still a prisoner, to teach God's message.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.