Depending on how you count it, the Apostle Paul was arrested, tried and imprisoned anywhere between 3 to 5 times. Paul’s determination in the face of opposition is remarkable. Where did Paul gain the strength to endure so much persecution and suffering and what does his example teach us today? Join us for part eleven of Journey to the Ends of the Earth, as we consider what it means to be captive to the call of Christ.

While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” 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 21:10-15 (ESV)

When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 

Acts 21:27-28 (ESV)

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.

Acts 20:18b-23 (ESV)

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 

Acts 20:24 (ESV)

And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.

The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”

Acts 23:10-11 (ESV)

We are either captivated by the call of Christ or by every trial and temptation of life.

  • His divine perspective (Acts 20:18-23)
  • His divine purpose (Acts 20:24)
  • His divine plan (Acts 23:10-11)

Questions for reflection:

  1. What is the divine perspective of my current situation?
  2. What is God’s purpose for my life?
  3. Do I trust God’s plan or am I trying to force my own?
  4. To what am I chained?

Daily Readings:

Day 1: Ephesians 3-4
Day 2: Ephesians 5-6
Day 3: Acts 19
Day 4: Colossians 1-2
Day 5: Colossians 3-4
Day 6: Philemon