In today’s reading, we get a bit of a travelogue of part of Paul’s journey, and the part that I would like to bring to your attention is when they arrived in Caesarea.
They stayed at the home of Philip the evangelist. He, by the way, is the same one who baptized the the eunuch in chapter eight of Acts. We’re told that Philip had four unmarried daughters who were what we might call today “P.K.s” or “preacher’s kids”, and they also proclaimed God’s message. How blessed Philip was, that his kids loved the Lord as much as he did.
In addition to raising his kids to know and serve God, he was evidently an effective messenger of the Gospel because there was a thriving community of believers in Caesarea. We know this because when Agabus prophesied and delivered the message from the Holy Spirit that Paul would be bound hand and feet in Jerusalem, a group of them begged Paul not to go.
And this is what I think we should consider today. These good and loving people, who cared so much for Paul that they begged him not to go where he would be harmed, were asking him to turn away from what God had called him to do. Did you notice that?
Their motives were good, in that they did not want to see their friend and in some ways, their pastor, come to harm. And their pleadings were effective enough that they broke Paul’s heart. He agonized with them, and maybe was even a bit tempted to heed their cries.
However, his reply to them revealed an even higher and better motive. “I am ready not only to be tied up in Jerusalem but even to die there for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” His aim was to follow God’s leading. The Holy Spirit’s message to Paul through Agabus was not to dissuade Paul from continuing on, but to prepare Paul for what lay ahead. God wanted Paul and the other believers to know that when he was bound and delivered to the Gentiles, it was all part of His plan.
And their response was what I hope ours is when we face difficult times, “May the Lord’s will be done.” There really is no better way to live than this. May the Lord’s will be done.