And 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… 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 imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” (Acts 21)
As the apostle Paul makes his way to Jerusalem, we notice at every stop along the way Paul “sought out the disciples” in each city that he visited. It is a wise Christian principle and practice to seek out the Christians already present in all the new places that we may find ourselves visiting or relocating to. It was always Paul’s desire to encourage and be encouraged by his Christian brothers’ common faith and their shared Christ-centered worldview. Like finding a fellow countryman in a foreign country, we should seek out and share a special connection with our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter where we might find ourselves.
Through a revelation of the Spirit, the disciples that he visited in each town were fully aware of the persecution that awaited Paul in Jerusalem. And so, out of their love for him and their concern for the church, these men believed that it would better serve God and God’s people for Paul to not continue on to Jerusalem where his life would be in danger. However, Paul “would not be persuaded” and instead, he urged his Christian brothers to continue praying that “the will of the Lord be done”.
Have you ever been so committed to the will of our Lord that you were willing to ignore good advice from godly men because it contradicted your clear conviction from the Holy Spirit? Put yourself in Paul’s shoes and think about how easy it would have been to give into the advice to 'play it safe' rather than to persist in God's clear calling?
Sometimes we may have to ignore good advice for the sake of simple obedience.
We should never go around looking for trouble or getting ourselves into danger, but there may be times where our faithfulness to Jesus requires us to walk right into a fire. And as we think about Paul’s actions here, we might remember that Jesus also knew what awaited him in Jerusalem, and yet he walked into that city also declaring, “Not my will but your will be done”.
May we learn to not assume oncoming tribulation is a spiritual sign to turn around. May we not be surprised if opposition is found along the pathway of following Jesus. May we be ready and willing to endure whatever may come knowing that our Lord endured a cross and warned us of having to endure the same.