October 15, 2019
Acts 21:10-15 (NIV)
After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem.
Did Paul have a death wish?
What are we to make of his steadfast rejection of the apparent wisdom from the Body of Christ? Why wouldn’t he listen? Remember a few days back he gave us this journal entry:
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:22-24)
Does Paul give no credence to the idea of the Holy Spirit speaking to him through the Church? After all, there were so many places Paul could have gone other than Jerusalem.
But then, there’s that guy named Jesus. Remember him? “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 (ESV)
And then there’s that “Mind of Christ” thing Paul talked about. You remember, “Have the same mind in you that was in Christ Jesus who . . . became obedient unto death.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
And then there’s Paul’s other now famous quotes, like this one:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:21-ff)
And then there’s this one:
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
Here’s my take on Paul. He had released his claim to his own life which made him totally abandoned to God which left him completely free. Paul died a long time before his death. The confounding logic of eternal life is this: Die before you die and then all is life.
Can you grasp that? Will you? It’s probably the most important thing I’ve ever had to say.
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
What do you make of this invitation to “die before you die?”
For the Awakening,