On to Jerusalem
We had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais; and we greeted the believers and stayed with them for one day. The next day we left and came to Caesarea; and we went into the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. While we were staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us and took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.” ’ When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, ‘The Lord’s will be done.’
After these days we got ready and started to go up to Jerusalem.
Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson
Paul was making a kind of farewell tour en route to Jerusalem. He knew, and so apparently did everyone else, that he would not be well-received in Jerusalem. To go there would be to put himself in danger. Why go?
All along the way, different warning signs flashed one after another. Here, some guy named Agabus tied himself up, hand and foot, to show Paul what lay ahead for him in Jerusalem. Despite Agabus’s object lesson, Paul was determined to go.
Have you ever known someone like that? I know a young woman who was determined to go and work among the poor in the most violent city in the world, Johannesburg. I read of a man who insisted on seeking survivors in the wreckage of New York’s Twin Towers, though one would collapse upon him. I know quite a number of people who keep on going places that aren’t easy to go to, and are even in some ways dangerous for them. Why go? Because they have been called. Called to serve. Called to give. Called to go.
In the end, God does not care most of all about our safety or about our comfort. God cares that we live lives that matter, that we live our lives for Christ’s sake. “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8: 35)
May I live this day so as to lose myself in Christ and his way, and so be truly found. Amen.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
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