Paul’s Determination to Reach Jerusalem

Open Your Bible

Acts 21:1-36, Matthew 5:11-12, John 19:13-16

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. 

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38 thoughts on "Paul’s Determination to Reach Jerusalem"

  1. Sarah Morrison says:

    Yes!! Knowing we are going against culture by living by and in the Holy Spirit.

  2. Katie Rutledge says:

    Love this

  3. Skylar Hilton says:

    I absolutely loved this reading in Acts today! I think we all need to learn a lesson of Paul’s determination. The first lesson we need to learn is that we can only find bravery, perseverance, and determination in God.. we shouldn’t look to the world for those things.

    And I think we need to learn a lesson about when God is calling you to do something for Him.. you don’t ever stop trying to do whatever that is. When other people tell you no, you still do it anyway.. it’s about God.. not them. And I pray that we would all walk with God and profess the faith.. regardless of consequences. I used to be so obsessed with looking for other people to accept me…but now, I know that only God’s opinion matters.

    All of our sufferings are so worth it for Jesus!

  4. Jennifer Anapol says:

    After the emotionally draining day I have had, it’s so nice to know that this world is not our true home. This world will disappoint us in so many ways. It will never truly satisfy us. I pray that I would remember that my main goal in this life is to glorify Jesus, no matter the cost. I pray that I would live with more boldness in my life and rel we why I am here.

  5. Lisa Williams says:

    Inspiring and eye opening! Where we would receive a warning Paul is not deterred. He is encouraged to go and suffer even unto death for the cause of Christ. Amazing! Give your children the strength to persevere just as Paul did!

  6. Dorothy says:

    ERB, I think I mentioned before I have seizures but mine are under control right now. Mine started over 60 years ago when I was a year old, so I’ve been told. I was also told that my maternal grandmother wanted to hire an exorcist when she first heard about it. My grandmother was a learned and God fearing woman but didn’t know much about medicine at the time. My mother gave her information to read and those thoughts were put out of her head. At that time there weren’t many medications for seizures and being young they didn’t want to give me to much but they had to give me larger than usual doses to get me under control. As I grew up my medicine had to change because of my body changing. There are three times I remember specifically where I had a major problem with my seizures. The first one was when I was about 9 or 10 years old and I was running home to tell my mom something, I tripped on the stairs in front of the house (they were concrete) and next thing I knew I was on the couch in the family room, I don’t know how I got there but my mom said I had a seizure. They had to change my medicine after that. The next time was when I had my wisdom teeth out, I was about 21 or 22, my mom (she was quite a bit smaller than me) had to wrap her arms around me because I was sitting in a chair when I had the seizure. I was able to go lay down afterwards and the doctor said if I were to have any major surgery or procedure in the future to do it in the hospital and let them know. The last major seizure I had I was in status epilepticus and I was pregnant with my oldest son (six months along), I hadn’t been on medicine for a while because I hadn’t needed it and they were concerned what it would do. Well long story short, I have had to be on medicine since and yes it’s taken some time to find the right one because of side effects and effectiveness but it’s been a while since I have had even an inkling of a seizure of any sort, so hang in there I’m sure they will find the right medicine or combination of medicines with the Lord’s guidance and prayers. I’ll be praying for you. With God by your side you can over come anything.

  7. Dorothy says:

    WOW!! WOW!! WOW!! Abby is so direct and to the point, but for me that is what I need. I need to be reminded, no TOLD, to “stand up and be counted”, to let people know where I stand when it comes to Christ and the Holy Spirit. I need to not just “wear my faith on my shirt sleeve”, I need to tell others.
    Please pray for my aunt, she isn’t doing well. My cousin contacted me yesterday and said that my aunt and uncle will have to be moving into an assisted living facility. She needs to be there now. They have been married over 50 years.
    Sisters, be blessed and let us go and spread the Great News.

  8. Victoria E says:

    Taylor thankful that your talk went well. Ruth Long praise God He is workin in your life. ERB so good to hear from you again, I am continuing using to pray for your seizures. Melanie I will pray for continued healing. Adrienne glad to see that you are better able to keep up, we missed you!

  9. PamC says:

    I’m running off this morning, but I need to ask for prayer for my husband from the best prayer warriors I know. His work situation is getting to be intolerable. No one I coming to work! They’re “sick”, their pets are sick, or one has a wife who can’t function so has to run home at the drop of a hat. He’s working open to close at the store, his owners won’t let him hire anyone else. I think you know we’re now headed into our late 60’s. He’s getting over tired and burned out. Please pray for his strength, endurance, a softening of the owner’s heart on the hiring issue and most of all for his people to COME TO WORK!!! Thank you so very much Sisters. Hugs & love to you all in Christ.

  10. Mari V says:

    The ending of this Devo is exactly my prayer this morning! Blessings to all of you my dear sisters. Every morning when I wake up I can’t wait to meet with Jesus and all of you here.

  11. Claire B says:

    Ruth Long, bless you! 20 +/- years ago I went through a really rough time until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I am thankful every day for the doctors God has placed in my path and continues to do so. It can be frustrating. I hope your issues get better and God continues to put the right people in your path.

  12. Maura says:

    Good Morning Sisters, good to read with you this morning. The question of are you willing like Paul to die to self, to put the glory of God first in your life, to speak and go when and where the Holy Spirit leads. Oh, I hope so, for it is what He is preparing us for as He gathers us in, to be the salt, the light, to share our Redeemer, Life Giver, Holy God. Lord help me to serve you better, to be so focused on you my vision is changed. Give these here in this community you all encompassing love, that we would overflow with You and impact this world in Jesus name. Amen. Sisters, I have moved, it has been a bit crazyand my grands and daughter came to visit the day after i moved in. My oldest grand then got a fever and we tested and she was positive for covid. Has been a whirlwind. But asking prayers for wisdom and listening to the Holy Spirit as there is much here right now. Please pray for His plan for my girls. Thank you. Love to you all.

  13. Amanda Danz says:

    Great message!

  14. Ruth Long says:

    Hey Shes, praise God with me. After a while of searching, We found a doctor who could help with some of the mental and physical challenges I’ve been having and I just want to cry for how God provided and may use this first session with her. Thank you Jesus. I knew you listened. ❤️

  15. Susie H says:

    Lately I have been praying for “uncontainable revival” for the whole world. It is evident that things are changing in the world and I came across this phrase, I believe, in a SRT podcast and it has stuck with me. Would you consider praying with me for an UNCONTAINABLE REVIVAL for our broken world?

  16. Kathy says:

    I heard a quote the other day.
    “It costs us nothing to become a Christian. But to live like one will cost us everything.”

    Also, last week I asked you to pray for one of my high school students who was really struggling emotionally and mentally. Thank you so much for praying. He is doing much, much better. He’s talking to our counselor on a regular basis. He came in this morning and told me he had been given a promotion and a raise at work. He was so excited.
    Have a blessed day, sisters.

  17. Karen S says:

    @ANGIE Your post gives me food for thought as I work through wanting my comfort and letting my “sunshine attitude” slip into something not so bright and cheery. I will pray with you that He will sanctify my attitudes and actions as I try my best to walk in obedience.

  18. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Beautiful as always Angie

  19. Adrienne says:

    Good morning, sisters! God is SO working on me already today. I posted on Day 30 about how hard it is for me to keep up here. But today, I am reading this morning! I have more clarity in the morning, so I hope to continue getting out of my warm bed. (Talk about comfy, right, Angie?) I have never noticed before… how Paul was such a persecutor of the faith, and now HE is being persecuted. (I always noted how he was a big, fat persecutor, then became such a proclaimer of Christ crucified. But PROCLAIMING versus being PERSECUTED…) Isn’t it amazing how we can take different learnings at different times? The Holy Spirit is SO working! Have a blessed day, she’s!

  20. Nancy Singleton says:

    ERB & Melanie, praying for you both this morning.

  21. Kelly says:

    Abby, Poppy, and Searching AMEN

    “our job is not to be comfortable, happy, or loved by everyone. Our job is to share the hope of Christ”

    Thankfully Jesus does not fire us when our “job” performance is lacking. He knows what we are made of…

    ERB – sorry to learn of your struggle, praying for you.

  22. SarahJoy says:

    For me to share my faith with the potential of rejection is a huge leap. My tendency for approval and harmony causes hesitancy. May I speak when the door opens to the glory of God.

  23. Chris S says:

    Very convicting! Thank you Abby and Poppy.

  24. Taylor says:

    Going off of ERB’s comment (which @ERB I’m glad to see your comments again and will be praying for relief and healing from your seizures!) I think one of the most powerful ways to share the gospel is through our testimony. We have been brought from DEATH to LIFE and each of our stories has the POWER to touch someone and relate to them in a way that makes them want the hope that we have. I know God is writing my story to point to His grace and mercy, and I pray for more opportunities to share what the Lord has done, is doing, and will continue to do in my life!

    @Melanie praying for complete healing and relief from pain!
    @Ruth Long I’ve been praying for you and your mental health and was glad to see your comment yesterday. Keep chasing after Him, His arms are wide open! <3

    Also just a little update: my talk with my boy-friend (see what I did there lol?) went really well. We both agreed that we don't want to stop being a part of each other's lives and want to be friends and to just continue to lay our individual lives down before the Lord and pray for His will to be done. This man is super respectful and kind and I just pray that if he's not who I'm meant to be with, that the Lord brings someone equally respectful and kind (preferably soon lol). Lysa TerKeurst posted on Facebook yesterday about Proverbs 3:5-6 and it really spoke to me in my specific season about trusting in God and surrendering to His plan even when it doesn't align with ours. I encourage you all to go take a look! I wish I could copy and paste it here but I'm not sure how. I hope everyone has a blessed day!

  25. ERB says:

    Sisters, I strongly encourage you to read the rest of Acts 21 and the beginning part of Acts 22.

    Acts 21:37-40
    PAUL’S DEFENSE BEFORE THE JERUSALEM MOB: 37 As he was about to be brought into the barracks, Paul said to the commander, “Am I allowed to say something to you?” He replied, “You know how to speak Greek? 38 Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt some time ago and led four thousand men of the Assassins into the wilderness?” 39 Paul said, “I am a Jewish man from Tarsus of Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Now I ask you, let me speak to the people.”40 After he had given permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his hand to the people. When there was a great hush, he addressed them in Aramaic:”
    Acts 22:1-5 “ Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense before you.” 2 When they heard that he was addressing them in Aramaic, they became even quieter. 3 He continued, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strictness of our ancestral law. I was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, arresting and putting both men and women in jail, 5 as both the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. After I received letters from them to the brothers, I traveled to Damascus to arrest those who were there and bring them to Jerusalem to be punished.” …after this Paul (Saul) goes into great detail about his testimony and how the Lord got ahold of him. VERY IMPORTANT read!!

  26. Melanie says:

    Please continue to pray for a successful surgery. My nausea is finally lessening and my pain is very manageable. My leg is sore but maybe due to the moving of the swelling and bruising. Please pray for the hernias to heal beautifully and there to be no more pain from them Thank you

  27. Elaine Morgan says:


  28. Melanie says:

    ERB-praying for your complete healing in the name of Jesus.

  29. Angie says:

    As a teen and young woman/mom lack of comfort didn’t bother me. I expected to work for things and to go without. It was sort of something that had been a part of my entire growing up and I chose, through the power and love of God I believe, to look on them optimistically. I would obey God, work hard, and it would get better but while it was hard…it would still be good-because of Jesus. But, I know that as I have aged, I lean into things of comfort more. I am a little more used to having something I want, going out to eat weekly (sometimes more). I have become spoiled. I don’t think I am a brat or a mean girl but, I struggle more with giving up the things of ease or comfort. And, when I do give them up, instead of my “sunshine attitude” of my earlier years I allow it to wear me down.
    In HRT today, the Holy Spirit brought these lines to my heart:”The question we must all ask ourselves is this: Are we willing to lay down our comforts and safety for the mission of God? We all understand that the risks are high. At the end of the day, we must decide if we believe that the reward is worth it. As odd as it may seem, losing our lives and laying down our freedoms is not so tragic in light of eternity. The true tragedy is treasuring our own lives above the call of Christ. It’s been said that we must die to ourselves before we die—there are no chances after. I imagine that when Paul breathed his last, he did so with no regrets. He followed God wherever he was called. I wonder if you and I are ready to say the same?”
    My head-on collision in May reminded me that death with God isn’t the worst result in a situation. Death with/knowing God means we get to enter into His presence face to face. The only sad thing in that thought, if I am a redeemed child of God, is when I realize the “more” I could have/should have done to bring honor to my Father. Maybe harder than death with Jesus, is living today, this moment, the next and the next, fully for Him-sold out, with attitudes and actions that bring Him honor and glory. Harder and yet easier the more we know Him, trust Him, and walk in obedience.
    LORD, sanctify my attitudes and actions. I lay them down. Thank you for the moments, days, weeks, maybe years that I am given to serve. Empower me LORD, in You alone may the glory and the honor rest. Amen.

  30. ERB says:

    MAURA, VICTORIA E, and all of you wonderful sisters who have thought and asked about me… Thank you!! I have hit another rough patch with my seizures, and have had to take a step back.. I am still reading along as best that I can…sometimes it takes me a couple days to get through one day’s reading but I am still here!! I haven’t been able to read all the comments as it’s just too much for my brain right now, but I have been thinking about and praying for every single one of you!! I hope to be feeling stronger soon!! Much love, blessings and encouragement to all of you!! Xoxo

  31. Arina says:

    Following Jesus even to the point of death is only possible if we are focussed on the life to come. Not clinging to the here and now because we know it one day will be over. A better future awaits us. There we will be with God. He will reward us for what we have suffered here. As Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

  32. SEARCHING says:

    I think I’ve commented on this before – in light of where he came from, the total and all-in commitment of Paul to do the Lord’s will is mind blowing to me. This is the same guy who held the clothes while Stephen was being stoned and is now doing all he can to spread the Truth of Jesus Christ, and willing to die when it comes to that.

    I’ve been a Christian for many years and it totally changed my life – turning from a dead end lifestyle to walk with Christ. But what am I doing now to spread the Gospel of Christ? Am I squandering opportunities to share with others? What are my actions saying that my words aren’t?

    RUTH LONG – Praise the Lord! He’s always waiting for us, beside us, with us. He loves us unconditionally, already knowing our thoughts and doubts even before we admit or express them. Keep going to Him and seeking His will and guidance – I’ll be praying!

    BESSIE – just saw the request for Erica this morning. Hope things went well for her.

  33. Blessed Beth says:

    Amen Thank you Abby for this reminder!

  34. Mary Ann Graves says:

    We are bound for Glory! Hallelujah!

  35. Carol Rimmer says:

    Amen @Poppy Waskett, that’s right!

  36. Carol Rimmer says:

    This is a convicting call to us all.

  37. Poppy Waskett says:

    Paul went where he knew he would
    Face opposition but did so for the sake of the gospel. He had lots of hospitable people who cared about him warning him not to go to Jerusalem, yet he saw Gods purpose over and above their warnings. Good people in our lives can sometimes give us advice that protects us rather than encourages us to be bold for the sake of Christ. Like Christ Paul was steadfast on his duty to spread the gospel and even in his suffering he saw to the other side. Even when mature and loving Christians give me advice, I need to check it with God and ensure I’m listening to Him and Him alone through his word and by his spirit. May we be obedient even to the most challenging circumstances. Today i don’t want to shy away from challenge for the sake of the gospel.

  38. Poppy Waskett says:

    Paul went where he knew he would