And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:…
Paul had received intimations "in every city" (ver. 23) that "bonds and afflictions" were in store for him; he looked forward with absolute certainty to personal suffering of some kind; but this assurance was so far from daunting or depressing him that his spirit rose on strong and eager wing to the full height of such apostolic opportunity (Matthew 5:10-12). The anticipated future, with its bonds and its sufferings and possibly death itself, raised the soul of the man, exalted him; and he stands before us in the noblest stature to which even he ever attained. Loftier words never came from human lips than these (vers. 22-24). His spiritual exaltation included -
I. CHEERFUL ANTICIPATION OF PERSONAL SUFFERING. "I go bound in the spirit," etc. He felt as one who already wore the bonds and was happy in the bondage. He was already "the prisoner of the Lord," and was proud thus to esteem himself. So far from casting about to see whether there was any open door of escape, he gladly went forth to meet the trials that were in front.
II. SUBLIME INDIFFERENCE TO BODILY ESTATE. "None of these things move me" (ver. 24). He was not affected by considerations which are everything to most men; they did not make him wince; he could be poor or rich, hungry or full, confined or at liberty, - it mattered not to him so long as he was following and serving Christ. And here is the explanation of his nobility; it sprang from
III. ABSORPTION IN THE SAVIOR'S WORK. "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish," etc. (ver. 24). "To testify the gospel of the grace of God " - this was the commanding, all-controlling, all-consuming passion of his soul. It impressed everything else into the service; it burnt up everything that stood in the way. It was the dominating force under which every other power ranged itself obediently,
IV. CONFIDING PRAYER. "I commend you to God," etc. (ver. 32). Leaving these converts and, as he surely believed (ver. 25), to see their face no more, he left them in the hands of God; he trustfully committed them to almighty love, to Divine wisdom, to the "faithful Creator" A blessed thing it is for the departing minister, for the dying parent, to leave his people or his family to the tender care of him who wilt make good the kindest and fullest of his promises.
V. EXALTED HOPE. "An inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (ver. 32). Paul continually looked forward to the time when he and his converts should meet in the heavenly kingdom; this helped to sustain him under persecution and disappointment. He turned from the shame which was put upon him by man to the glory which waited to be revealed, and his heart was more than satisfied. This should be the result of our contemplation of the future; it should lead to inward exaltation. It should lead to
(1) such devotedness to the work we are doing for our Master that we shall rise above the fear of man, and even welcome the losses we endure for Christ's sake;
(2) the devout committing of ourselves and of our charge to the love and faithfulness of him who is unfailingly gracious and true;
(3) a sustaining, animating hope, in whose blessed radiance all earthly experiences are lighted up. But in order to this there is presupposed in us what there was in Paul
(4) an entire surrender of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ himself. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: