August 7, 2005
In Acts 21, the Holy Spirit appeared to give conflicting guidance, first to Paul as he prepared to go to Jerusalem, and then to his friends, who desperately urged him not to leave. Alistair Begg points out that while the Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself, man’s deductions are fallible, even when they are admirable. This emotional scene of parting illustrates the precious connection between those who love Christ, even as it cautions us not to allow our human emotions to cloud God’s divine warnings.
1And 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.1 2And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
7When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers2 and stayed with them for one day. 8On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews3 at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”
15After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.
Copyright © 2023, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.