21 After we had torn ourselves away from the Ephesian elders, we headed out to sea. We sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes. From there we continued on to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia. So we went on board and headed out to sea. 3 We came near Cyprus and passed to the south of it. Then we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre. There our ship was supposed to unload. 4 We looked for the believers there and stayed with them for seven days. The believers tried to keep Paul from going on to Jerusalem. They were led by the Holy Spirit to do this. 5 When it was time to leave, we continued on our way. All the believers, including their whole families, went with us out of the city. There on the beach we got down on our knees to pray. 6 We said goodbye to each other. Then we went on board the ship. And they returned home.
The disciples in Tyre get a word from God for Paul: don’t go on to Jerusalem. Not just one of them, a number of them have the same word. The word will be confirmed by Agabus in Caesarea and by subsequent events. They had heard the Holy Spirit correctly.
They tell Paul the word. They urge him to listen to the word. And yet Paul rejects the word and continues on to Jerusalem.
It can be very easy to become emotionally involved with a word God has given us for someone. We love our God who has spoken passionately. We desperately want to see the word he entrusted to us have its effect. And it can be easy to become so emotionally caught up in it that we try to make it be heard.
Although God entrusted it to us, it remains his word. Once it has been faithfully given, it is up to God what happens next.
How do the disciples from Tyre respond? They don’t get angry with Paul for rejecting the word. They continue to love him, all going to see him off and to pray with him. Presumably they prayed for Paul’s safety, and ultimately against the fulfilment of the word they so faithfully delivered.
What faithful disciples!
Written by David Cornell