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Bound in Jerusalem

Devotions

Paul was aware of what the future held for him, but still, he kept on going. The same was true of Jesus who told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem to be killed and rise again on the third day, Simon Peter objected. In Matthew 16:22, Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

When Luke and his team learned that Paul would be arrested and handed over to the Gentiles in Jerusalem, they too were upset (vv. 11–12). Paul’s fate was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit during a week-long stopover at Tyre and confirmed by the prophetic message of Agabus in Caesarea (v. 11). Although verse 4 sounds as if it was the Holy Spirit telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem, it was the Spirit who initially directed Paul to make the journey (Acts 20:22). The Holy Spirit did not object to Paul’s trip. It was Paul’s friends who objected because of what the Spirit revealed about its outcome. When they realized that Paul, like Christ, was determined to follow through even at the cost of his life, they recognized that this was God’s will (v. 14).

It did not take long before those who opposed the gospel of grace that Paul preached tried to kill him. They spread lies, saying Paul had brought Gentiles into the court of the temple where only Jews were allowed. They seized him, dragged him into the outer court of the temple precinct, and began to beat him to death. The commander of the Roman troops, stationed at the fortress adjacent to the temple, heard about the disturbance, saved Paul’s life by arresting him (v. 33).

>> Sometimes what seems like misfortune is God’s way of furthering His plan. While today’s reading has a somber tone, it should be an encouragement for us to know that we can trust God with our future. Whatever happens today, remember that God has got your back!

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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