And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again. And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem. There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.
A few years ago, my husband and I experienced an Alaskan cruise. It was a business thing, so we did not get to have any say in the itinerary. On the way back from Alaska, which we loved, the boat made a quick stop in Victoria, Canada. I fell in love with what I saw and considered it a huge mistake that we did not get to experience it more. I would love to take my parents there one of these days.
The last Bible studies have focused on a few stops or sail-bys in scripture. These cities were considered important because of their significance during New Testament times. Paul’s journey certainly seemed to do a bit of criss-cross for that part of the world, but we also know that it was a necessity for that time due to sailing conditions or road conditions in order for them to make it to Jerusalem in time.
After Melitus, Paul and company resumed their journey to Jerusalem. Their ship set a path to Cos then Rhodes and then Patara. They then changed ships to go to Phoenicia and ended up landing in Tyre for the cargo to be unloaded. Finding the disciples of that area, Paul and company stayed there seven days. The Spirit let the disciples know that Paul was in for a difficult time in Jerusalem and they begged him to not go. Paul’s departure must have been a beautiful thing to see as the believing families escorted them (Paul and his entourage) outside the city where they knelt down and prayed together before boarding the ship again.
In Ptolemais, they fellowshipped with the believers there for a day. The next day, they went to Caesarea (which is quite beautiful by the way) and was hosted by Evangelist Philip (the same Philip from Acts 6:5 and Acts 8:40) who had 4 unmarried daughters who taught the gospel. Women teaching the gospel or prophesying is also described in Acts 2:17-18 at Peter’s sermon at Pentecost. While enjoying the hospitality of Philip, the prophet Agabus came from Judea to visit and dramatized like Old Testament Prophets would do: He took his belt and tied up Paul’s hands and feet and then declared that the Jews in Jerusalem would do the same to him and give him to the Gentiles. The shaken believers begged Paul to not go to Jerusalem, but Paul declared that He was ready and willing to suffer and die for the Lord Jesus Christ. They refrained from more arguments and declared for the Lord’s will to be done. Paul and company, along with some of the Caesarean believers prepared to make the journey to Jerusalem to stay with Mnason of Cyprus, one of the first disciples.
Paul knew that opposition would face him in Jerusalem and that it would be worse and or different from other places. As an older man now, he knew his days were numbered, yet he was ready to suffer for the name of Christ. He was resolved to follow the Lord’s leading no matter what.
These are strange times. What are you willing to do for the cause of Christ? Most of us will not be put to the test through beatings or imprisonment, but through our willingness to be inconvenienced to take the gospel to the person across the street. Paul’s determination to follow Christ to his own harm should be great inspiration for us to follow the Lord no matter what the cost. What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you faithful in the least of things?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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