Acts 21:1-16 (NRSV)
Paul is warned about future persecution
When we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. When we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, we went on board and set sail. We came in sight of Cyprus; and leaving it on our left, we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. We looked up the disciples and stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When our days there were ended, we left and proceeded on our journey; and all of them, with wives and children, escorted us outside the city. There we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais; and we greeted the believers and stayed with them for one day. The next day we left and came to Caesarea; and we went into the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. While we were staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us and took Paul's belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 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 in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, "The Lord's will be done."
After these days we got ready and started to go up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came along and brought us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to stay.
Today’s scripture reading is very solemn. It details the prophecy that was shared with Paul in Caesarea regarding his death. In short, a prophet named Agabus told Paul that he would be bound and murdered in Jerusalem.
I can’t even imagine how Paul must have felt upon hearing this proclamation. I am sure that he really had to examine his motivations for loving God, following Jesus, and serving humanity. I would think that he did some soul searching and came to some profound conclusions.
He must have decided, “to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1:21).” Or perhaps he thought, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” Or maybe he heard tell of Jesus saying, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it (Luke 9:23-24).”
Whatever GOOD NEWS Word Spirit burned into his heart and soul, it must have been a powerful one because Paul said to his friends, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Wow! It is clear from Paul’s statement that he truly prioritized his love relationship with God through Jesus Christ!
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If a man has not found something to die for, then he is not fit to live.”
As Christians we are called to be GOOD NEWS witnesses, no matter what the cost! In some times and in some places—even in the present day—that commitment to Jesus Christ may cost us our very lives!
But there is still GOOD NEWS my friends! God loves us so much that God gave Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life!
Isn’t it wonderful that no matter what may befall us here on the Earth, we are promised eternal relationship, salvation and home in the life to come?
Because we have such outstanding “life insurance” we ought not to be afraid to take real risks to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone we meet!
It is an honor to surrender my all to Jesus, because he surrendered His all for me...
Have you found something/someone worth dying for? I have. His name is JESUS!
Loving God, thank you for the many martyrs who have died because of their love affair with you! Thank you that although they lost their lives here on the Earth, they did not lose their life in the Heavens. Please help me to passionately pursue relationship with you every single day of my life! Truly I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for I know that it is the power unto salvation for all who believe it (Romans 1:16)! This is GOOD NEWS and I am committed to sharing it with others! I love you and I want others to love you too! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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From Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com