Paul had been at Miletus, a Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia where he addressed, exhorted and encouraged Ephesian church elders as each one continued to fulfill the great commission to advance the gospel and lead people to Christ. There, he revealed to them this was the last time they would see him as he journeyed to Jerusalem where he expected persecution.
“1 Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.” (Acts 21:1-2)
Paul and the brethren set sail from Miletus, in the Aegean Sea with Ptolemais as their destination port, from which they planned to continue their journey on foot to Caesarea, then Jerusalem to partake in Pentecost, the celebration commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other followers of the Christ.
“3 When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. 4 And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:3-4)
Paul had stopped in Cyprus 14 years earlier during his first missionary journey, but on this trip, he sailed passed the Greek island onto Tyre, a city located on the Phoenician Island. There Paul and the brethren stayed seven days, during which the Phoenician disciples warned him of the persecution that awaited him in Jerusalem.
“5 When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed. 6 When we had taken our leave of one another, we boarded the ship, and they returned home.” (Acts 21:5-6)
After Paul and the brethren had gathered with the disciples at Tyre, and shared in the Lord’s Supper, the group prayed for Paul as he was about to face suffering in Jerusalem, bringing to fulfillment the prophecy foretold earlier.
“7 And when we had finished our voyage from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, greeted the brethren, and stayed with them one day. 8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.” (Acts 21:7-9)
Paul’s journey by sea ended at Ptolemais, one of the oldest cities in the world and the capital of Cyrenaic. There, Paul and the brethren stayed one day, after which they departed on foot for Caesarea located approximately 35 miles to the south, along the Mediterranean Sea. While at Caesarea, Paul and his fellow missionaries stayed with Philip, an evangelist who had four daughters blessed with the spiritual gift of prophecy.
“10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” (Acts 21:10-11)
While in Caesarea, Paul was visited by Agabus, a prophet from Judea who foretold of the suffering that awaited the missionary in Jerusalem. Using Paul’s belt, Agabus illustrated the way Paul would be bound, and persecuted as an anti-semite.
“12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.” (Acts 21:12-14)
When those present heard of the danger that awaited Paul in Jerusalem, they were that much more driven to dissuade him from continuing his journey. But, the missionary called it a blessing to suffer for Christ, and completely surrendered to God’s plan for his life. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre