A short reading and prayers for today
Paul said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”
Acts 21:13 NLT
There was no stopping Paul. He was absolutely determined to go to Jerusalem and no one was able to stand in his way. That’s not to say that they didn’t try! When he arrived in Tyre in Syria, he spent a week with the believers there and they prophesied through the Holy Spirit that he shouldn’t go to Jerusalem. Some days later he went down the coast to the important city of Caesarea where he met a man named Agabus who had the gift of prophecy. He dramatically took hold of Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands with it, and then declared that the owner of the belt would be bound by the Jews in Jerusalem and then turned over to the Gentiles. Upon hearing this everyone begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. But he wouldn’t be stopped. He announced that he was ready to be jailed and even to die for the sake of his Lord.
If risk assessments had existed in Paul’s day he would undoubtedly have been told that it was much too risky to head to Jerusalem. But Paul’s mind was made up and off he went, believing that he was acting in obedience to the Lord. We all face risks in life and this incident emphasises that there is something far more important than risk and that is being obedient to Christ. I have known many Christians take huge risks because of their faith. Some have gone to work in countries where the health care was very poor. Others have moved their families into rougher areas because of their determination to share the Good News with those communities. I am convinced that we should always live responsibly and be aware of potential risks. But Paul reminds us that obeying the Lord is what really matters, however risky it might be.
What risks have you taken in your Christian life?
Lord God, help me to be willing to be obedient to you whatever the cost. Amen
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil
and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:
Grant that we, having this hope,
may purify ourselves even as he is pure;
that when he shall appear in power and great glory,
we may be made like him
in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.