OF PAIN IN JERUSALEM
Worship Jesus as the one who laid down his life for you. Are you willing to lay down your life to follow him? Tell him
Read Acts 21:1–16
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends...” (John 15:13,14).
Back aboard the ship, Paul sails from Miletus down to Caesarea. While in Caesarea, a grizzled prophet named Agabus brought Paul a grave message: certain arrest and pain awaited him in Jerusalem.
Notice how all who heard it focused on the danger, but not Paul—he heard in this dire word a word of opportunity! He would land in the hands of Gentiles—the very ones to whom he was called! While everyone else begged him not to go to Jerusalem, Paul understood the purpose of his life: to “solemnly testify” of the Gospel of God to the Gentiles.
How different Paul’s focus is from the others (13). He was willing to suffer imprisonment and worse for the sake of the lost. What similarities to Jesus do you see in Paul’s resolve to follow God’s purpose to Jerusalem, despite the danger (cf. Luke 9:51; Isa. 5:7)? Because Jesus had laid down his life for Paul, Paul was willing “even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (13)
What keeps you from boldly sharing the Good News? Write down each hindrance and beside it write down a benefit that might happen if you chose to share the Gospel in spite of the difficulty.
Paul often asked his readers to pray for him to have boldness. Pray that God would give you such boldness!