Paul continued along his missionary journey, always using opportunities provided for teaching and fellowship. Since the ship had to offload cargo at Tyre, he sought the disciples there and spent seven days with them.
Again, forewarned that trouble awaited Paul n Jerusalem, they tried to discourage him from going there. But his mind was made up, so he went through what had become a ritual – farewell prayers and blessing- before he and his party boarded ship again.
After a quick stop in Ptolemais, they arrived in Caesarea and stayed with Philip the evangelist.
My church has the tradition of having visitors stay preferably in members’ home, or with other community members. For District Conferences, I know, this helps to cut costs. We use hotels when we can’t do better, or if we think the visitor needs that kind of a break. I see the value of making such fellowship available. Iron does sharpen iron. Having a leader, even if briefly, be guest in a Christian home, can be good for both parties.
Ministers are also expected to stay with ministers’ families too. Some of my colleagues hate this, I know. They say that their home is for friends. And being colleagues in ministry does not always mean that we are friends. There’s a big question mark her. Isn’t there? That we can be other than friends seeking to win friends for Christ. I know that we don’t have to be bosom friends, but… I also know that it can be better not to be forced to have the live-in company of someone who you already know gets on your nerves. We all have our idiosyncrasies; that can be much for colleagues to bear.
Back to Paul. Well, at Philip’s house, there came the prophet Agabus with the same kind of warning that others had given Paul before. Only this time he was much more dramatic, demonstrating how he would be bound, hand and foot and delivered to the authorities in Jerusalem.
But Paul would no be persuaded away from going to Jerusalem.” I am ready”, he said, ” not only to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Being unable to persuade him, they simply let God’s will be done.
Now, obviously, they had two different interpretations of God’s will. The people kept asking Paul not to go because the Holy Spirit had indicated the danger to them. But Paul insisted on going. Did Paul believe that it was God’s will? Or was it his deep desire to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of his Lord?
I have to study hard and ask myself whether there was greater value in Paul dying or in staying alive? whether the value was to him personally- he who had been a persecutor- or was it otherwise?
Help me Lord to see.
Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth thou hast for me.
Open my eyes, Illumine me, Spirit Divine.