Incidents by the Way
Acts 21:1-16
And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course to Coos…

I. THE POWER OF CHRISTIAN LOVE TO BRING THE UNKNOWN NEAR. At Tyre Christian disciples, loving Christian hearts, are found. They warn Paul against possible coming dangers, they entertain the little band, and dismiss them with commendatory prayer. "The finding of disciples must have been a main feature in the diaries of the apostle." To meet with welcome, with hospitality, with congenial discourse upon journeys, - how refreshing! Well may it remind us of the universal providence, and the living love which is ever at work to overcome strangeness, and to bring the far-off near! Delays in business need be no delays in the work of the kingdom of God. While the departure from Tyre was delayed, Paul found time to instruct the disciples at Tyre.

II. PHILIP THE EVANGELIST. The name is an excellent one for a true teacher. It means one who carries the good news. All that we know of him from Acts 6:5; Acts 8:5; Acts 26, 46, and his earnest preaching of Jesus, bears out this character. It seems to have been his object and his peculiar gift to make clear from the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. The gift of his daughters seemed to be a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy (Joel 3:1). They present the type of the calling of all Christian women to appropriate forms of Christian service.

III. AGABUS AND THE GIRDLE OF PAUL. He gives a symbolic prophecy of coming trial. The girdle might be a symbol of complete dedication to the service of the Lord Jesus and of his gospel - of Christian duty. The loins once girt up must not be relaxed. Only when the will has been subdued to God and his service are we truly free; and this even when others would use compulsion upon us. "Then the strong band encircles our life and girds us for eternity." It is a blessing when our eyes are opened to the coming trial, and our hearts are at the same time strengthened to meet it. This gives assurance that all that occurs is according to the blessed will, and must work together for good.

IV. "THE WILL OF THE LORD BE DONE." Often it is harder to contend with the weaknesses of others than with one's own. See Millais's touching picture of the 'Huguenot.' Some silken band of dearest affection would detain us as we are preparing to march to the post of duty (cf. Genesis 43:3, 4). Love means well, but does not always point in God's way (John 20:17). When Luther was on his way to Worms, at place after place warning friends met him; and close to the town his beloved Spalatin sent to him to beg he would not venture into the scene of danger. "Were there as many devils in Worms as tiles on the roofs, I would go in," was his reply. Paul's heart is touched; he feels the spring of manly strength giving way. But with a strong effort of faith and will he overcomes. "I am ready to die at Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus." "Not the cross for the cross's sake, but the cross for the sake of Christ;" to be made like to his death (Philippians 3:10); - these were the ideals of his life. And so the love of the Christian flock to the pastor must give way to the pastor's love for Christ. "The will of the Lord be done!" It is the best concluding word of all our deliberations. It silences all objections to God's ways; our thoughts must be suppressed before the thought of the Only Wise, and our power bow before that of the Omnipotent. Our affection for others must withdraw its claims in favor of his, whose we are and whom we serve. This motto may well suit the servant of God in all the changes of his pilgrimage, against all the opposition of his foes, against the temptations of flesh and blood, of near and dear affection, and the weakness of his own heart. - J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara:

WEB: When it happened that we had parted from them and had set sail, we came with a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.

Human Affection and Sacred Service
Top of Page
Top of Page