By Jordan and Hannah Early
Scripture Reading: Acts 21:1-36
Topic: God is faithful even in the hard times
Focus Scripture: Acts 21:13-14
Let me start by telling you something you may already know — Paul was a busy dude.
He was also very determined.
Through these scriptures we see, on several occasions, people warning and pleading him to not go to Jerusalem. There were even prophesies of what would happen. But Paul, in true Paul fashion, pressed on, knowing what was ahead of him.
At first, I read this and thought this might be an act of arrogance or rebellion. But instead, this was an act of obedience to where he felt the Holy Spirit leading.
We see in one section that Paul was warned by four women “who prophesied” (v. 9) and a prophet named Agabus that he would be arrested (v. 11). But Paul pressed on.
These warnings were intended to prepare Paul, not to stop him. Let’s pause on that a moment. How many times have we been warned and we let the warning stop us rather than prepare us for what came next?
Then we see Paul make a very Paul-like statement.
“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 (v. 13).”
Then in verse 14, it says that when Paul couldn’t be dissuaded, they “gave up, saying, ‘the Lord’s will be done.’”
We’ll come back to this.
So they press on. But as they were warned, Paul is arrested and people are trying to kill him. As we reach the end of this passage, we see that the violence had escalated so much that Paul is being carried by the soldiers and there are chants to “get rid of him (v. 36).”
So what was prophesied actually happened. Looking back it seems like Paul made a mistake. Everyone was telling him not to go, but he didn’t listen. Or did he?
He wasn’t listening to everyone else. He was listening to the Holy Spirit.
No one in their right mind would choose to suffer just because. But they would choose to suffer if they believed that what they were suffering for was worth it. Paul didn’t choose suffering — he chose God’s will. The suffering just came with it.
The warnings prepared Paul for what was to come, but even knowing what lay ahead, he chose to press on because it was worth it.
Paul was so fixed on running the race set before him that it didn’t matter what the road looked like, or how long or brutal the race was — he was determined to finish it. He was persuaded that the purpose and the message of Christ was worth it all.
Father, I thank you that knowing what was to come didn’t stop you from pursuing me and seeing your race all the way through to the cross. I pray that you would help me to see the calling you’ve placed on my life and to follow the direction of your Holy Spirit each day. I pray that the warnings you give be the preparation we need to see our race through to the end. Give us the perseverance and resolve to not only finish, but to finish strong.