and through the Spirit they were telling paul not to go on to jerusalem. [acts 21:1-4]


this seems like a contradiction in scripture, because a few passages earlier, paul states that: 

and now, behold, I am going to jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there [acts 20:22]




now after these events paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through macedonia and achaia and go to jerusalem [acts 19:21a]


and yet, many of those who love paul plead with him not to go.  how can the Spirit disagree with itself?  the short answer is–it does not.


God is absolutely sovereign, he does what he pleases–and in his sovereignty, he gives truly earnest believers a desire to love their brother and desire his safety, while paul himself knows that he is truly called into danger and even death–paul’s highest desire to honor God’s call, consistent with Jesus’ message:

but before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. [luke 21:12]


paul knows that he will not make it out unscathed–this is what he has been called to.

when paul comes to jerusalem, he in fact is brought before the rulers–and he is arrested and detained, with shouts of murder at the door, Jesus comes to comfort him by night:

the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in jerusalem, so you must testify also in rome. [acts 23:11]


when everyone else is against him, telling him not to go, Jesus does not rebuke paul for setting his face towards jerusalem. Jesus is comforting and encouraging paul as he faces what could be his death. 


today in his presence–what is your highest desire? what is your deepest joy? who do you want to please? let us lay down our comforts, the opinions of men and our lives for the sake of knowing King Jesus!



~ ce