January 18th, 2007
Are we missing out on something in our quest for safety and risk minimisation? If you’re not risking anything, are you really living at all? If you live in a risk-free house and go each day to a risk-free job and earn a risk-free income, when you get to the end of your life what will you have achieved? Paul consistently showed a disregard for risks and dangers, and that was one of the things which made him so effective. It is the people who choose to live life on the edge that God uses and who achieve amazing things in their lives. People who stay safely in the shadows end up living their lives on the sidelines.
The Acts of the Apostles — Chapter 21
21:1 When we had parted from them and set sail, we made directly for Cos, and the next day sailed to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 21:2 We located a ship going to Phoenicia, so we went aboard and set sail. 21:3 When could see Cyprus as we passed it on the left hand side, and we sailed towards Syria, landing at Tyre, where the ship unloaded its cargo. 21:4 We encountered some disciples, and stayed there seven days. They warned Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go to Jerusalem. 21:5 When the seven days were over, we left and continued on our journey. All the believers and their wives and children came with us until we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed. 21:6 After saying goodbye to each other, we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
21:7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the believers, and stayed with them one day. 21:8 On the next day, we came to Caesarea. We went to the home of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 21:9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 21:10 As we were staying there, a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judea. 21:11 He came up to us and took Paul’s belt, then bound his own feet and hands and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘The Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt like this , and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'”
21:12 When we heard this, both we and the believers there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 21:13 Paul answered, “Why are weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned, but also to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 21:14 When he would not be persuaded, we stopped arguing, saying, “The Lord’s will be done.” 21:15 Afterwards we took our luggage and went to Jerusalem. 21:16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we would stay.
21:17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the believers were pleased to welcome us. 21:18 The next day Paul went with us to see James, and all the elders were present. 21:19 When he had greeted them, he reported one by one the things which God had done amongst the Gentiles through his ministry. 21:20 When they heard it, they praised God. They said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jewish believers there are, and they are all serious about the law. 21:21 They have been told that you teach all the Jews who live amongst the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to follow the customs. 21:22 What should be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 21:23 So do this. We have four men who have taken a vow. 21:24 Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay for them to have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been told about you, but that you yourself also obey the law. 21:25 With regard to the Gentiles who believe, we have communicated our decision that they should face no such requirements, except that they should abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality.”
21:26 Paul took the men the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, to give notice of the completion of the days of purification, when the offering would be made for each of them. 21:27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple and stirred up the crowd and seized him, 21:28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches people everywhere to oppose our people and the law and this temple. He has even brought Greeks into the temple, and defiled this holy place!” 21:29 They had seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
21:30 The city was in a commotion, and the people ran together. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the doors were shut. 21:31 As they were trying to kill him, news reached the commanding officer of the regiment that all Jerusalem was rioting. 21:32 He at once took soldiers and centurions, and ran towards them. When they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped assaulting Paul. 21:33 The commander came up, arrested Paul, ordered that he be restrained with two chains, and asked who he was and what he had done. 21:34 Some people in the crowd shouted one thing, and some another. Being unable to ascertain the truth because of the noise, he ordered Paul to be brought into the barracks.
21:35 When Paul was on the stairs, the violence of the mob was so great that he had to be carried by the soldiers. 21:36 The mob was following, shouting, “Away with him!” 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he asked the commanding officer, “May I speak to you?” The commander asked, “Do you know Greek? 21:38 Aren’t you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took the four thousand members of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 21:39 But Paul said, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please, let me speak to the people.”
21:40 The commander gave him permission, and Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned with his hand to the people. There was silence, and he spoke to them in the Hebrew language.
Entry Filed under: Courage