7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” 15 After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.
When I know a task is coming up I prepare. I plan my time, I learn what I need to know, I have my mind and body ready.
From the early warning in verse 4, to the vivid prophesy in verse 13, the Lord was preparing Paul and the disciples. Will they finish the race and testify to God’s grace, or try to hide Paul and themselves away, and retain the status quo?
Clearly this wasn’t easy for Paul, as we see his emotional reaction in verse 13. He wanted people beside him ready to stick to the task of sharing the good news. There are echoes of Jesus’ struggle here facing his fate with sleeping disciples for support.
What a powerful work the Holy Spirit is doing in his and the lives of those around him. From being compelled by the Spirit (20v22) to now being prepared by the Holy Spirit, it is just as Jesus prayed in John 16 v13 – the Spirit of Truth will guide us into all truth and he will only speak what he hears and will tell us what is yet to come. They did not have to run the race alone, unprepared, they had a Guide who would show them what glorifying Jesus really meant.
It is clear to me the Holy Spirit has prepared me for things in my life. Dissuaders have whispered into my heart or to be honest I have done my level best to veer off course at times. However, as I serve him, follow him and walk in his will for me (John 12 v 26), I am never alone, never unprepared. The Guide, the Holy Spirit goes beside me.
Dear Heavenly Father, you promise you will honour those who serve you. Rather than clinging to the safe, to the status quo, help me to walk in your will for me today as Paul did as he walked into Jerusalem. As you used him, use me today. Amen
Written by Claire Moore