Photo by Tim Boote

Paul in Jerusalem, I: Determination (Acts 21:1-16)

Jun 09, 2023 By: Damien Garofalo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: Acts Scripture: Acts 21:1-16

12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then 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.”

Since his time in Ephesus back in Acts 19, Paul has been “resolved in his spirit” to go to Jerusalem and then to Rome. We come now to Acts 21, and his resolve has only grown stronger.

Since the time that Luke, by the Spirit, has told us of Paul’s desire, the warnings have only come with more frequency. Paul had been told that only persecutions and imprisonment awaited him in Jerusalem – and yet, he continued toward Jerusalem. In our text, believers in Tyre urge him not to go – and yet, he continued toward Jerusalem. A prophet demonstrates what will happen to Paul – and yet, he continued toward Jerusalem. If anything is clear, it is that Paul is determined in his heart to go to Jerusalem.

What could bring about such determination?

Certainly, many of us have experienced choices and crossroads in life that required determination of heart. Perhaps we’ve been encouraged by a teacher or coach to help us reach our goals with more determination. The average person ought to agree that determination is vital!

For us, we often rely on the help of others to feed our determination, but Paul’s resolve was actually contra mundum – “against the world.” That is, all of Paul’s teammates urged him not to go to Jerusalem, and yet, when they saw he wouldn’t bend, finally agreed to let him go.

Paul’s resolve and determination were drawn from his desire to be like Christ. All throughout his epistles, Paul highlights union with Christ as a source of encouragement to believers. And Paul practiced what he preached! Just as Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem, so did Paul. Just as Jesus was willing to give up his life, so was Paul. Just as Jesus followed the Spirit’s leading, even if that meant danger, so did Paul.

It is not wise to continually ignore a multitude of counsel – the Bible says much about this; however, there will be times when God makes things so clear to us that we must stand up for what is right, even if we stand alone.

Take heart, however, that when you stand for God’s will, you are never truly alone.