Acts 20: Bound by the Spirit

I would love to go to Jerusalem.  What a great trip that would be!  Maybe some day.

Interestingly, in this passage Paul isn’t as enthusiastic about his trip to Jerusalem.  Nor was Jesus in Luke’s first volume (Luke 9:51).  Both had to set their faces resolutely towards the city of David.  Jerusalem meant death.  Jerusalem is the place of loss and separation, in this context.

This is likely why Paul seems more melancholy and introspective in today’s reading.  By the middle of the chapter Paul is in Troas on his way to Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem.  The rest of his party sails from Troas to Assos but Paul, who usually surrounded himself with traveling companions, walks the 25-mile journey to Assos alone instead.  In Ephesus, Paul gathers the elders of the church together to encourage them to watch out for “fierce wolves” in sheep’s clothing and to stay strong in Christ (20:29-31).  Paul knows he is “bound by the spirit” to go to Jerusalem (20:22).  Twice he tells the Ephesian elders they will not “see my face again” (20:25, 38).  Paul’s phrase “after I am gone” (20:29) has a foreboding tone of finality.

These are last words.  The kind of things Jesus said to his apostles in John 13-17 just before he died.  The kind of things you say just before “going to Jerusalem.”

Yet, both Jesus and Paul went.  It was their mission, and they knew it.

What stood out to you?

Categories: Acts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Acts 20: Bound by the Spirit

  1. Melanie Semore

    Paul’s farewell at Ephesus has always been moving and was again this time. I paid more attention this time to his advice, particularly…”how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them” (The Message).

    • No matter where you go in the Bible, cover to cover, we read admonitions to care for the poor. It is a foundational belief. It amazes me how some have tried to ignore this, even me at times. Thanks for sharing. I love hoe the Bible is new every time we read it, in some big or small way. Living word.

  2. Paul is not a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of guy. It strikes me how he is able to confidently hold up his way of life as an example for them. In his last words with these believers he says, you saw me working, you heard me preaching, This message has consumed the entirety of his days. And he can humbly say, go and do the same.

  3. There is so much love in this passage! I am so moved by it all. Why? Because Paul “was with you totally.” He didn’t hold back. He risked. He drained himself of self in their service. That is the recipe to a good life. Nice!

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