The Real Issue

The Real Issue

25 October 2009


10 During our stay of several days, a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11 When he visited us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Romans.’ ” 12 When we heard this, we who were traveling with him, as well as the local believers, begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 13 But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:10-13 NLT)

I get frustrated over this part of the story. Acts 21 tells of Paul’s journey to Jerusalem after saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders. Paul and his team arrived in Caesarea and were staying in the home of Philip, one of the original Acts 6 deacons. God had already spoken through Spirit-filled believers and warned him that trouble would be in store if he went to Jerusalem. Now the prophet Agabus arrived and dramatically and specifically declared that Paul would be arrested by the Jews and handed over to the Romans. It makes me think that there could be lots more chapters in the book of Acts if Paul had just heeded the warnings.

The warnings were accurate, and it played out just the way God told Paul it would. The real issue is how you look at it. The issue for Paul’s friends was that they were concerned about what would happen to him. The issue for Paul was that he was anticipating how Jesus would use him if he followed through on his determination to reach Jerusalem.

Sidebar: If Paul had heeded the warnings, taken the safer option, and stayed out of prison we might not have Paul’s prison letters that give us much of the New Testament theology of Christ’s deity and of God’s plan for the church. I think Paul’s friends got it right when they said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”

I’ve got to ask myself, “Am I more concerned about what might happen to me if I take the risk or about how God will use me if I act in obedient faith?”


Father, I need your help on this one. I find myself thinking way too much about what might happen to me if I take risks and “faith-steps.” I need an attitude adjustment that makes me think more about what the Master Jesus will do through my obedience. Amen.

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