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.