What is the Macedonian Call?


By BibleAsk Team

What is the Macedonian Call?

The “Macedonian Call” is recorded in the Book of Acts. Luke writes, “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us’” (Acts 16:9). The man speaks for all his fellow countrymen in Macedonia, which originally was a country north of classical Greece.

Macedonia rose to power under Philip (359–336 B.C.) and Alexander the Great (336–323 B.C.). However, in 142 B.C., it became a Roman province and kept that status through Paul’s day. Many of its prosperous towns had large Jewish communities, which provided great possibilities for Christian evangelism.

Why did God send Paul to Macedonia?

God sent Paul to Macedonia to expand the spread of the gospel into Europe, marking a significant step in the early Christian mission. According to Acts 16:6-10, Paul and his companions were initially prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching in certain regions of Asia Minor. In Troas, Paul received a vision of a Macedonian man pleading for help, which he interpreted as a divine call to preach in Macedonia. This strategic move facilitated the establishment of a Christian presence in Europe, starting with notable conversions such as Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, and the Philippian jailer and his family. These events underscored the divine guidance in directing the missionary efforts and fulfilling the broader mission of spreading the gospel to all nations.

Paul and his companions had been averted from carrying out their great wish to evangelize Asia. For “they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them” (Acts 16:7, NKJV). The main reason for the prohibition to work Bithynia and Asia seems to have been the divine purpose that the gospel should be carried into Europe at this time. A whole continent calls Paul, and he now understands the reason that is behind the divine prohibitions.

The man in Paul’s vision stands in Europe and is appealing to Paul to reach that great continent with the gospel truths. This is one of the critical times in history. Much of Europe’s destiny relied on Paul’s answer to the call. Europe can well be grateful that the brave apostle did not hesitate to respond to the call that came to him. And because of the urgency of the call, Paul made immediate preparations to go to Macedonia.

What happened to Paul in Macedonia?

In Macedonia, Paul experienced a series of notable events that significantly advanced the early Christian mission. He began in Philippi, where he converted Lydia, a businesswoman, and her household, establishing a base for the Christian community (Acts 16:11-15). Paul’s exorcism of a spirit from a slave girl led to his and Silas’s imprisonment after the girl’s owners, angered by the loss of their profit, incited a public uproar (Acts 16:16-24).

Despite being beaten and jailed, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns at midnight, resulting in a miraculous earthquake that freed them and led to the conversion of the jailer and his family (Acts 16:25-34). After being released, Paul traveled to Thessalonica, where he faced opposition from some Jews but successfully converted many Greeks and prominent women (Acts 17:1-9). He then moved to Berea, where his preaching was well-received until opposition from Thessalonica followed him, prompting his departure to Athens (Acts 17:10-15). These events in Macedonia were pivotal in spreading Christianity further into Europe.

Consequently, due to the apostle’s efforts of evangelism and responding to the Macedonian call, many churches were started there such as the ones in Philippi (Acts 16:40), Thessalonica (Acts 17:4), Macedonia, and in Corinth (Acts 18:1–11). And the apostle send his epistles to the churches which are part of the New Testament and carry inspired messages not only to these churches but to churches throughout the ages.

Today’s Need for Evangelism

Today, the Macedonian call, the cry of those who know no Christ, has urged thousands to leave their homes and take the gospel to new lands, where they have ministered under hard conditions, loneliness, sickness, and the threat of death. These missionaries, in response to the “Macedonian calls” have left their comfort zones to go to uncharted areas to spread the love of God.

Thus, they have fulfilled Christ’s Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20, NKJV).

Such self-sacrificing ministry has ever empowered the church. But when the church ignores the Macedonian calls, spiritual weakness takes over it. Sometimes, the call may be hidden by those in great deprivation, for they may be ignorant of their deadly spiritual condition. Therefore, their need must be the great indicator of their status and Christians should speedily reach out to save these souls.

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