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. Chris S says:

    Very convicting! Thank you Abby and Poppy.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!!

  4. 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

  5. Elaine Morgan says:


  6. Melanie says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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