As the apostle Paul finished his third missionary journey, he made his final journey to Jerusalem. There was a growing sense of danger in the air. The Jewish establishment was not happy with Paul. What kind of a reception would he receive? As he made the journey, everyone he met tried to dissuade him from going to Jerusalem. Paul stopped in the city of Tyre and the people urged him to stay (Acts 21:4). It seems that the Holy Spirit had warned them of the dangers that Paul would face. But Paul continued his journey. Sometime later he arrived at Caesarea. During this same time, a prophet named Agabus came to Caesarea from the region of Jerusalem. Agabus had the inside scoop from Jerusalem and he relayed a message from the Holy Spirit that Paul would be bound and turned over to the Romans (Acts 21:10-14). Again, the believers urged him to remain in safety. But again, Paul continued on his journey.
Was Paul being stubborn and disobedient to the Holy Spirit? Why did he rush headlong into danger? We gain some insight into Paul’s mindset as he gathered with the elders of the church of Ephesus (Acts 20:22-24). The Holy Spirit had already revealed all of these dangers to Paul directly. Paul acknowledged to these believers that they would not see his face again. With this being said, he testified that the Holy Spirit was drawing him to Jerusalem – and into danger.
Many believers today are enamored with safety and security. Paul reminds us, however, that God sometimes allows or even draws us into suffering for purposes that are beyond our comprehension. We don’t morbidly pursue suffering. But we shouldn’t run from it either. There are times when we could escape hardship but we shouldn’t. Consider how God used Paul’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment in Rome. Consider how the gospel was advanced through Paul’s hardship. As you think about your own suffering, consider that there might be more at stake than your comfort and ease.
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