Thy will be done#2. “Be it imprisonment or death!”

Thy will be done#2. “Be it imprisonment or death!”

The church at Rome was promised a visit by the apostle Paul and he was going to honour his word. He had written to them and told them to expect him on a planned missionary trip to Spain. He had even asked them to prepare to assist him with expenses; something that would not happen.

On Paul’s return to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey, he and Luke visited the home of the evangelist Philip. While there a prophet named Agabus acted out before them a prophecy about Paul’s immediate future. Taking Paul’s belt, Agabus tied up his own hands and feet and prophesied: “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles’” (Acts 21:11).

Panic struck the room.

We can imagine how stunned the brethren were. They would have reasoned that the fulfilment of the prophecy needn’t be inevitable; that this was but a timely warning from the Holy Spirit.

The seasoned apostle was not about to have his work thwarted by the tears of his nearest and dearest. He knew that their love came from hearts sanctified unto God. But nothing was going to stop him from going on.

Finally, his own emotions overflowed: “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” (Acts 21:13).

Seldom do loved ones let go, even in the face of undefiled duty. They would have to accept, along with the Ephesian brethren (Acts 20:38), that they may never see his face again.

Luke gives us his last words on this event: “And since Paul would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done’” (Acts 21:14).

Paul did arrive in Rome, albeit as a prisoner. Though shipwrecked and snake-bitten, nothing slowed his work for Jesus.

He was a man who lived and breathed: “Thy will be done.”

John Staiger

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