Acts 21:1-14 “The will of the Lord be done.”

The following is a practical and personal story of Paul’s, which reflects his firm belief in providence. As to his return to Jerusalem he says, “The will of the Lord be done” (v. 14). This was behind the simple words that begin the passage-“Now it came to pass” (v. 1a). Luke, as an historian wanted to make the record of their travels correct, but Paul’s main goal was to return to Jerusalem. What is interesting is that this journey was really just taking advantage of what was already in place. For example, the ship’s masters needed to unload their cargo in Tyre, so while there Paul and his colleagues found some disciples and stayed with them (v. 4a). “It was “through the Spirit” that Paul’s friends learned he was soon to suffer prison and hardship (20:23), and in response to this revelation they tried to persuade him “not…go up to Jerusalem” (cf. vv. 11, 12)” (NGSB p.1749). Nevertheless, before leaving they all gathered and prayed for them together (vv. 5-6).

Similarly, they stayed with the brethren at Ptolemais for a day before carrying on (v. 7). As if the word from the disciples at Tyre were not enough, many gather in Caesarea to pile on the revelation of Paul’s impending persecution in Jerusalem, to be bound by the apostate Jews, and then delivered to the Gentiles for punishment (vv. 8-12). It is interesting to note that these revelations from the Spirit did not mean that the Spirit was telling Paul not to carry on. If this was the case with those who had such direct revelations from the Spirit, how much more should we not weigh any words that may come our way such that we do not necessarily let this advice determine our course. According to Paul, he would have much rather had his friends comfort and strengthen him in his decision. In the end there was one thing which they all agreed on-God’s sovereign will expressed in providence, would ultimately determine the outcome-“The will of the Lord be done” (Cf. Mt. 26:42; Lk. 22:42).

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