Journey to Jerusalem

NO RETREAT (ACTS 21:1-16). They sailed straight to Cos. The next day he traveled to Rhodes and from there to Patara. They found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia; they went on board and set sail. Did Paul think of Barnabas, of Mark, of Serigus Paulus when they sighted Cyprus and passed to the south of it? The ship sailed on to Syria and landed at Tyre to unload its cargo.

They stayed at Tyre for seven days. There Paul received the same warning from the Holy Spirit through the disciples as he received in other cities. They urged him not to go on to Jerusalem, but their plea was in vain. After another prayer meeting on the beach, they said good-bye and sailed to Ptolemais, where they were greeted by the brothers and they stayed a day.

PTOLEMAIS. Ptolemais is 27 miles from Tyre. It is called Acho or Acco in the OT (Judges 1:31) and Acre today. In Roman times, it held the status of a colony because Claudius had settled a group of veterans in the city.

Leaving the next day, they reached Caesarea (40 miles from Ptolemais) and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. The historian Eusebius states that these daughters were informants regarding the early history of the church.

One cannot help wondering what the evangelists spoke about and whether they talked about Philip’s friend and fellow deacon Stephen.

Agabus, a prophet from Judea, arrives at Caesarea. He had predicted the famine (Acts 11:28) and now gives a most dramatic warning as to the fate that awaited Paul in Jerusalem. This was more than enough for Paul’s party and his friends in Caesarea. Their pleading almost broke the apostle’s heart, but he would not retreat for bonds nor did death terrify Paul. Why would Paul retreat at this point? From the time of his calling, the Lord had shown Paul how much he must suffer for His name (Acts 9:16). Indeed, he already had suffered much for Christ!

The apostle did not view what the Spirit said as a warning, but as a revelation to prepare him (“Get Ready”) for what lay ahead. Paul is saying, “I take a different view, the Spirit is saying this will happen to me. Therefore, I am not going to run away. “Chain and afflictions are waiting for me.”

In view of Paul’s statement in Acts 23:1, and the Lord’s encouraging words in 23:11, it is impossible to believe that the apostle deliberately disobeyed the revealed will of God. It is apparent that godly people respond differently to divine revelation. Whatever happens in Jerusalem would be the Lord’s will; the brethren finally acquiesced.

After this, the party got ready and went up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied them and brought them to the home of Mnason, where they were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.

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