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Acts 21:1-16 (NIV)
On to Jerusalem
21 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. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board, and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit, they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach, we knelt to pray. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. 7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way, the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” 15 After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.
In your eyes, did Paul make the right decision to go to Jerusalem, even though godly people through the Spirit urged him not to go?
In yesterday’s reading, Paul was compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to him there (Acts 20:22). Today, the Spirit is revealing to Paul and to the godly people around him that capture awaits him there and they urged him not to go. It is one thing when things happen unexpectedly, but another when you know you are walking toward danger. Out to his love for Jesus, his obedience to the Spirit, and his devoted commitment to the gospel message, he was not going to avoid his capture. I imagine with the people urging him not to go, it had to make him really question himself but he continued to trust the Spirit. Jesus also knew that he would suffer and die. His disciples urged him not to go to Jerusalem to be captured and killed. Jesus did not avoid what he knew was going to happen, out of his love for all people, his obedience to His Father, and his devoted commitment to His purpose. I am so very thankful for that! There are faithful people in other countries, who preach the gospel in areas where they know they can be jailed, persecuted, or even killed for doing so. Instead of avoiding potential consequences, they put their lives at risk out of their love for You, their obedience to the Spirit, and commitment to Your gospel message. Why is it that in this country, we are afraid to even speak your name out of fear that someone may not like it. Serving You is usually not convenient and it takes time and effort and therefore we avoid it. Lord, there are many people in this nation who need to know Your message of love, forgiveness, and grace. There are people who are hopeless and afraid that need to know Your message of peace, hope, and eternal salvation. Lord give me the heart of Paul to hear Your direction clearly. Give me the courage to know the risks but to do it anyway. Help me to step out of my safe place in faith, even if I know that it is not popular to do so. I want to serve you, knowing that the consequences may be uncomfortable or inconvenient. Lead me to respond out of my love, obedience, and my devoted commitment to You. Amen