Acts 21:1-40; 22:1-30
Paul and his friends spent 7 days with the Tyrian Christians. The Holy Spirit revealed to some of these believers the dangers Paul would encounter at Jerusalem. They interpreted this prophecy to mean that Paul should not continue on. Paul’s determination to go on to Jerusalem was not disobedience to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19:21, Paul, through the Spirit, had decided to go to Jerusalem and it was the fruit of the deep inward constraint of the Holy Spirit that kept him going. Again we see the deep love the believers had for Paul as they knelt on the beach and prayed together before the group left for Caesarea.
Philip the Evangelist, who led the Ethiopian to the Lord in Acts 8, was one of the seven chosen with Stephen as leaders in Acts 6. The prophecy of Agabus while at Philip’s again confirmed the trouble awaiting Paul in Jerusalem and prepared him for it. The weeping and pleading of the people in Caesarea began to weaken Paul’s spiritual resolve to go on. He begged them to stop before their love deflected him from God’s purpose. This reminds us of the Lord’s words to Peter when he tried to keep Jesus from going to Jerusalem and the Cross (Matthew 16:22-23) We must not let the fears of other Christians or loved ones hinder us from a missionary call or God’s appointed task. They might see the suffering or sacrifice but not the blessing God will bring through this call.
Paul is now at the end of his third missionary journey. At last he is reunited with the Jerusalem believers and greeted warmly. They rejoiced as he reported the details of what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. But great caution was exhibited and he joined in the purification rites as to not cause the weak Jewish Christians to stumble
Just before the seven days of the purification rite were over, some Jews from Asia stirred up the whole crowd against Paul. The city was in an uproar and Paul was seized and beaten with the intent to kill him. The commander of the Roman troops intervened by arresting Paul and having him bound in chains. The mob was so violent that the soldiers had to carry him. Paul spoke to the commander and was allowed to address the crowd in Chapter 22.
What is the secret of Paul’s serenity? It would have been easy to say “If only I had not come…” or “This is so unfair…” Or he could have just stayed in Tyre or Caesarea. But Paul KNEW that he was in Jerusalem by the will of God. God had allowed this to happen. Paul went directly to God. He knew God had purpose in the trial. His first thought was, “How can I use the difficulty, this opportunity to serve God?” ( Acts 21:39)
God has purpose in our trials too. I need to see struggles as Paul did – as opportunities to trust and serve God. His Word changes us, gives us hope and truth so that we can learn to see our struggles through the Light of the Savior, not the darkness of the world. —- Mary Mauderer
雖在世上遭遇險阻，卻不必害怕，有主與我們同在，祂必為我們開路，也必保守我們十分平安。 —- Solomon Liu