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#carmelprays – Acts 21:1-16

Opening Song: How Rich A Treasure

Read Scripture: Acts 21:1-16

This passage opens with a painful picture. It begins with Paul and his company tearing themselves away from their friends (v1). This shows us the deep emotional attachment that Paul and his company had with these believers. Yet, they had to leave because Paul had to travel to Jerusalem. He travels through many different places and covers hundreds of miles (v1-8). Notably, the people are concerned about Paul going to Jerusalem (v4). In verse 11, Agabus binds Paul by tying his hands and feet. This is meant to warn Paul and show him the terrors that await him in Jerusalem. The people see this and again, beg him not to go (v12). 

Here we see a community in deep difficulty. They are struggling with letting their beloved Paul go. Naturally, they do not want him to be subject to great suffering. Out of good intentions, they plead with Paul not to go and suffer at Jerusalem (v12). This is important because it shows that even well-intentioned people can be wrong about what God desires. 

Paul’s response shows that he is resolute. He is determined to go and suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ (v13). He knows, yet he goes. Paul says he is ready not just to be bound, but to die in Jerusalem if need be. This echoes the ministry of Christ. Leading up to Palm Sunday, Jesus tells the disciples three times that he must suffer and die at Jerusalem. He knows, yet he goes. Paul is following in the very footsteps of the Christ that he proclaims. Once it becomes clear that the Holy Spirit is driving Paul towards Jerusalem, the people accept his decisions as the Lord’s will (v14). Paul goes. 

There is much to glean from this passage. First, are we guided by our good intentions or by the will of God? Very often we take our own human desires and elevate them to the will of God. Are you doing that today? This passage teaches us that seemingly good and loving desires can deviate from God’s will. Let us pray that we will be guided by God’s will and not our own. 

Second, are we resolved like Paul? Paul sets a challenging example for us here. Are you willing to endure suffering for Christ? Are you willing to pay the cost? Living the Christian life and telling people about the gospel will never be easy here on earth. Let us pray that we will be like Paul. Let us look these trials in the face and be resolute like Paul and like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us walk the road to Jerusalem as a testament to the reality of Jesus Christ.

Pray in Response

Father, I confess that I often put my own desires above Yours. Help me to see that I know very little. Humble me to see how great You are. Teach me to discern Your will, rather than force my will on my life. Strengthen me to delve deeply into the Bible so that I make Your will my priority. 

I also pray that I be resolute like Paul. Empower me to spread the good news of Christ Jesus even if it comes at a cost. Even if it brings suffering, shame and great cost, help me to love the gospel enough to share it. Like Paul, I pray that I embrace suffering for Christ and be a good testimony even when I face difficulty.

Response Song: May The Mind Of Christ My Saviour

By Darren Sim

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