11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”

15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Acts 21:11–16 ESV Read More

Remember when Jesus was walking around the disciples at Caesarea Philippi and this happened?

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” — Matthew 16:21–23

Paul is on the same path. Jesus know that going to Jerusalem would mean unfair persecution and death. Paul knows that his mission involves the same kind of suffering without a defense.

Note that all of this time, it was the Holy Spirit telling Paul what would happen in Jerusalem but it was the people telling him not to go there. It is being foretold what will happen in Jerusalem, but it is the people wanting to avoid it that are trying to keep it from happening.

Paul knows that part of what has to happen next is that the Jewish authorities need to turn him over to the Gentiles and arrest him. In this case, it will be Roman authorities. Agabus’ prophecy didn’t say anywhere in it that Paul should resist or avoid his fate.

At least Paul didn’t call the people Satan like Jesus did to Peter! He told him how willing he was to die for Jesus. He knew he had to do this difficult thing.

You may know some reckless Christians that equate risk or persecution with God’s will. That’s not what is going on here. Paul is doing God’s will in spite of the risk. He is not using risk as a guide or measure to know God’s will. There is a big difference!

Seeking, knowing, and doing God’s will regardless of the personal discomfort or risk is way better than measuring God’s will by those things. Sometimes God will help you do hard things with great joy! Sometimes God will help you do hard things just by giving you a glimmer of hope that it will someday be done.

They finally settled in for a few days in Jerusalem or a nearby suburb with Mnason of Cyprus. Barnabas has likely died of old age at this point, but Mnason was another Cypriot and an early disciple. Can you imagine the war stories told around that table about the early days of mission trips — the night before Paul finally enters Jerusalem to trigger all of the prophecies waiting to happen?

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