21:1 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
For the first part of this journey toward Jerusalem, Paul could walk and the rest of the group took various boats. They were day trip boats, mostly taking little hops from coastal town to coastal town as the daytime winds blew. Paul was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem, and when you’re as far away as the Aegean Sea, there are a lot of wildcards to deal with.
They finally got aboard a bigger ship and crossed the Mediterranean. But notice this mention of Cyprus. Remember that Paul is heading into what he knows is probably going to be his death. He didn’t stop in Ephesus because he was in a hurry. But what about Cyprus?
Cyprus is where it all began! That was where he and Barnabas first began preaching in synagogues and watching the Lord build His church among dispersed Jews and all kinds of Gentiles! This is like driving past your middle school! (Protip: if you say “Where it all began…” every single time you drive past your middle school, you’re being a good dad.)
They pass Cyprus and can’t help but think of how this whole missionary evangelist life began.
But when they land in Tyre, they stay there for a week!? There is no stopping the Apostle Paul from doing the work. There aren’t any mentions of him preaching in Tyre before, although there are believers there. He took the opportunity to really spend some time teaching them. He’s closer than ever to Jerusalem, so as Passover creeps closer, he can get there when he needs to be there.
In spite of numerous warnings, even from the Holy Spirit, Paul continues to Jerusalem. He never gets scolded or reprimanded from God for it, which is also kind of interesting. The warnings and Paul’s conviction to continue on will increase from here. As will the fruit of his teaching.
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