Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 21:13
“Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” – Acts 21:13
Paul, along with some of his disciples went to visit Philip the evangelist in Caesarea and stayed with him for a time. An interesting point here is that Philip had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. This falls in line with what the prophet Joel prophesized when he said, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28.
Now, while they were there, a prophet by the name of Agabus came down from Judea. “And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” Acts 21:11. This was troubling to all those there, but not so much to Paul for He had heard this before. In speaking to the elders of the Church in Ephesus he said, “And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.” Acts 20:22-23.
Upon hearing this prophecy from Agabus everyone there, including the local residents who were there, began to beg Paul not to go to Jerusalem. This was very much a sign of weakness in them though also an expression of their great love for Paul. They were concerned for his safety, no doubt knowing how much the Jews hated him. Also, in turning him over to Rome, the gentiles referred to in verse eleven above, they knew this could very well mean he could be killed. Paul, answering in a traditional Pauline style said in our focus verse, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13. The people around him were crying and begging him to not go to Jerusalem. He states here they were breaking his heart for though he had already decided to go to Jerusalem. and nothing could move him for he was resolute in his decision, yet their tears and what was to come greatly afflicted him, and the more because he could by no means comply with their request. The Holy Spirit made it very clear on several occasions this is what would happen, and he was ready to die for the cause of Christ.
When he was before the Ephesian elders where the Holy Spirit told him that bonds and afflictions await him, Paul told them, “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24. Paul considered his work for the Lord far more important then anything else, even his very life. And he showed this through what happened later in chapter 21. This raises the question, are we willing to do the same if we encountered the same situation? Would we continue to do the work of God knowing we could be arrested and possibly killed? I know this is a difficult question to answer, but as time progresses, this may become more and more possible. And if it happens, we must remember that just as Paul was never alone, neither will we be. God will always be with us no matter what. His work and His ways are far more important than anything else we may have. Remembering this and focusing on God’s love will make it more than possible, but also desirable.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.