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.”
Reading the above, Paul shows no great bravado, but a sensitivity to those around him, ‘You are breaking my heart.’ Nonetheless, he remained resolute and would not be dissuaded for he was truly ready to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. But what was they had heard that caused the people there to plead with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem?
First of all this occurred in Caesarea, approximately eighty miles from Jerusalem, Paul’s destination. There he
8b stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. What does the writer of Acts mean when he writes that Philip was one of the Seven? Recall in Acts six the apostles needed some to take on the duties of the distribution of the food, so they said 9 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them. Philip was one of those chosen.
While at the house of Philip 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.’”
So now we know what caused the weeping and great concern among the believers in Caesarea, one wonders what happened. Well, 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 Paul arrived in Jerusalem the next day he was received warmly, but with a warning about those who opposed him. He is eventually arrested, sent back to Caesarea under house arrest while there were plots set up to have him murdered. Frankly, this morning I read to the end of Acts where Paul eventually, finally, ends up in Rome. It is a fascinating read – I could not stop until I got to the end.
To return to our verses of the day, if our day or days of trials should ever come, it is my prayer we would be as kind and sensitive while remaining resolute in doing God’s will. Paul took no pleasure in the weeping of those who cared for him nor was he playing the role of a hero. Instead he was simply doing God’s will and in the process was setting the example of how we might or should behave when our time comes to do what God wants us to do.