Paul’s Determination to Reach Jerusalem
Open Your Bible
Acts 21:1-36, Matthew 5:11-12, John 19:13-16
BY Abby Flynn
Crowds shouting accusations. Soldiers exerting their force. A violent crowd hurling insults. Calls for putting an innocent man to death. When we see Paul in Acts 21, the events feel pretty familiar, almost like we’ve been here before. The last time was when Jesus was accused and hung on a cross.
The thing about Paul is he had countless people in his life tell him not to go to Jerusalem before he went. It was other believers—a prophet, disciples, and his friends, all warning him not to do this thing that they feared would lead to his death.
And yet, Paul goes. He tells them that the issue is not what the people in Jerusalem will do to him. The important thing is what God wants to do through his obedience (Acts 21:12–13).
Paul says, “I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (v.13). He was committed to bringing the hope of Jesus to the Gentiles. When Paul goes into hostile territory with the hope of the gospel, it reminds me of what we’re all called to do in the first place.
If we consider ourselves to be Christians and followers of Jesus, we’ve been called to go into all the world and preach the gospel. That doesn’t mean just going where we’re comfortable, or where we’re well received. It’s a guarantee that we will face suffering and persecution because of our faith. If Jesus is our example, if we truly want to follow in His footsteps, then we are blessed when we’re persecuted and treated badly because of the boldness of our faith.
People may make false claims about us. There may be whispers or words of hate because of what we believe and whose we are. But our reward in heaven is greater than anything we can imagine here on earth.
Sometimes I need the reminder that this world is not our home. It’s not our final destination. We are headed for glory. And in the meantime, our job is not to be comfortable, happy, or loved by everyone. Our job is to share the hope of Christ. In some places, this will make us outcasts. Some people may look down on us or discredit us because of what we believe. That’s okay. We’re blessed.
God, help us to be more like Paul today. We pray for opportunities to give an answer for the hope that we have in You. Give us your strength and the boldness to live out our faith today, regardless of what the consequences might be.