Farewell Tour

Acts 21:1-16
1And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
2And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.
3When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo.
4And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
5When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed
6and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
7When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day.
8On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
9He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.
10While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
11And 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.’”
12When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13Then 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.”
14And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”
15After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem.
16And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Now that rock n’ roll is an old form of entertainment we are seeing more and more bands from the 60’s and 70’s (even 80’s and 90’s) having a “farewell tour”. What it amounts to is a bunch of old guys who can still rock out getting together and taking us on a blast from the past. It’s fun. But supposedly, that’s the last time we’ll see them together as a band. So it’s a little sad too. Brief research on Google says that most of the bands that say they are on their farewell tour actually don’t retire. They return for another round – or two.

Paul is on his farewell tour of the churches he has started throughout his ministry. The thing is, he won’t be back. And he isn’t going to retire. He is going to die for his faith at the hands of the Romans. We’ve read about the poignant good-bye he had with the Ephesians and now he’s headed back to Jerusalem, stopping along the coast on the way to meet with the people Tyre one more time. Again there is great sadness from the church as they realize this will be their last personal interaction with Paul. As he prays with them he is warned that a trip to Jerusalem will definitely end with his arrest. But he is determined and on to Jerusalem he goes.

One must admire Paul’s tenacity and determination. In this particular passage he has been given a vivid illustration of what awaits him in Jerusalem. He will be bound and jailed. Agabus’ demonstration cannot be misunderstood and the people were saddened to realize that Paul would follow through with his plan despite the prophesied negative future. What I admire about Paul in this passage is that he is not hindered by these predictions. I might have begun to second guess myself and doubt God’s plan. But Paul remains steadfast in the face of certain suffering. When suffering appears on my horizon I tend to look for another horizon and that isn’t always in God’s plan for me. Had Jesus looked for a different pathway when it came time for His suffering and death we would all be in great trouble today. But He remained steadfast and Paul takes his cues from Jesus. I guess I will too.