After staying there for a considerable time, Paul said farewell to the believers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut, for he was under a vow.When they reached Ephesus, he left them there, but first he himself went into the synagogue and had a discussion with the Jews.Acts 18:18-19
We remember Paul stays in Corinth one year and six months having been assured by Jesus of two things, “Do not be afraid but speak and do not be silent; for I AM with you” and prophetically, “no one will lay a hand on you to harm you for there are many in this city (Corinth) who are My people.” v. 10. With full assurance from Christ he is moving on and preaches with a new vigor and enthusiasm! Christ is the Messiah and He is Risen from the dead!!
Paul teaches the Corinth listeners all that he knows about Jesus, from the Apostles teaching him, and they are strong in the Lord! Before Jesus convicted Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul was previously a Pharisee and tutored under Gamaiel (Acts 5:34, 22:3). When Paul speaks he contextualizes the Old Testament Messianic prophecies within the New Covenant message of the Way of Christ.
Paul preaches repentance of sins and Baptism! They respond!! Then Spirit tells Paul when and where to go next. It is to Syria! Priscilla and Aquila go with Paul. Aquila has his hair cut in Cenchrea, a seaport town not far from Corinth, because he is under a vow (Numbers 6:18).
Paul knows he is headed toward Jerusalem. He indicates he must keep the Jewish feasts. Yes, and yet it is not Paul’s conscience which requires him to keep the Jewish feasts. His burning passion to go to Jerusalem is fueled by the need to Preach Christ to those who have not heard or those who need to hear more of Christ, and to further instruct believers, and to free folks in Jerusalem from the prejudices which they may have against him. Thus, when they land in Caesarea he goes straightaway to Jerusalem as he is intent on bringing a great number of his country-folk to Christ.
Jerusalem is the mother Church of Christian believers and Paul keeps the feast and they see his faithfulness to his brethren. Then he brings others to Christ through preaching and arguing the Scriptures. Paul is acting with the full power of the Holy Spirit as he fervently speaks in Jerusalem! Then Paul goes also to the areas of Antioch, Galatia, and Phrygia– spending four years, including the time he spends in Ephesus.
The Ephesus believers ask him to stay longer. They love Christ and they love Paul! They long to know more and more. Yet Paul humbly says he has to follow the Spirit’s direction, saying he will return to them. And he does return! (Acts 19:1). My friend, Paul could not have spoken those words to those in Ephesus who ask him to stay excepting that the Holy Spirit reveals his next destination to him and Spirit forms his words of his return to Ephesus within his being.