Monday, April 13, 2020

It's a matter of whom you know

Paul contacted Lydia in a Jewish way. She was a God-worshiper whom he encountered at a Jewish meeting place. However, his mission continued down the Via Egnatia through a network of artisans. Lydia knew and dealt with artisans as a businessperson and handworker. So she was the key contact, positioned within two important networks, which allowed Paul to segue from Jews and God-worshipers to handworkers. Once we notice this practice of missionary snakes and ladders we can see it in Paul’s earlier evangelism as well.

Paul and Barnabas traveled from Antioch to Salamis on Cyprus, Barnabas’s homeland. This was a family network within a broader Jewish network. Sergius Paulus’s conversion is unusual because it was so dramatic and sudden—a direct work of the Holy Spirit. But once that conversion had been made, Paul traveled to Pisidian Antioch exploring his family network, a1though this time of an out—and—out pagan family. And Paul’s later letter to the Galatians suggests that more than just family members converted in Pisidian Antioch. Whole households turned to Jesus (see Gal. 6:10). Households in the ancient world, especially wealthy ones, contained more than immediate families. They were full of relatives, friends, retainers, and slaves. The household of a wealthy upper-class Roman also anchored a network of clients spreading out from their immediate area to other dependent households in their cities and to their country estates—their patronage network. Clearly Paul worked all these contacts in Pisidian Antioch and as they extended down the Via Sebaste. He could travel and be supported as far as letters of introduction from the Sergi Pauli had influence, although they could not guarantee his safety in other cities.—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 48–49

No comments: