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.”
Paul had been warned by the prophet Agabus that if he went to Jerusalem, he would be handed over to the Gentiles. Paul’s friends begged him not to go, but he would not be deterred, “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And, as Agabus had prophesied, Paul was handed over to the Gentiles in Jerusalem. Paul understood God’s calling on his life. He had learned to follow the Spirit’s leading rather than listening only to his human counterparts and even his own desires. Paul knew that God was calling him onward and forward, without fear.
Paul continued to face many unknowns and dangers. But, trusting God, this also provided more opportunities to witness. Paul never let an opportunity pass. In fact, by appealing to Caesar, new doors were opened that would allow Paul to share the good news of Christ with more people, even Roman leaders.
God calls us onward, even when the future is unclear or unknown. God calls us to trust him each step of the way, and to seize every opportunity to serve God’s purposes. It takes courage, discernment and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. IS there an area where God has been calling you forward, but you have been resistant? Pray for God to give you courage, discernment and guidance. Then step out in faith.
God, I commit my way to you. I am ready to follow your call, no matter the direction. Guide me with your Spirit and give me courage to follow you closely. May I continue to grow in my trust and faith in you, oh Lord. You are my rock and my redeemer. Thank you for loving me so. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.