Paul’s Determination & Warning from Agabus

One cold February day a snail started climbing an apple tree. As he inched slowly upward, a worm stuck its head from a crevice in the bark to offer some advice. “You’re wasting your energy, there isn’t a single apple up there.” “There will be when I … More


Another warning came to Paul from a man named Agabus, who was a prophet from Judea (v. 10). He had prophesied that a widespread famine would affect the world (Acts 11:27-28) and his prophecy came true. He bound himself with Paul’s belt, using it as an object lesson, showing that Paul would face such a binding by his fellow countrymen and would be delivered to the Gentiles (v. 11). However this deterring sign of Agabus did not stop Paul for a single moment. There was even a united outcry by Paul’s friends and fellow-travelers for him not to go to Jerusalem, but the argument that he would be imprisoned did not impress him (v. 12). In spite of these warnings the apostle was determined to go on.

The grim statement of Agabus was Paul’s last warning, his last chance to turn back. Two great passions tugged at Paul’s heart; his passion for Jerusalem and his desire to see Rome. Paul says, “I am not only ready to be imprisoned, but even ready to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (v.13). At this point someone may say, “Doesn’t this show that he was anxious that God’s will be done in his life"? Not necessarily! Maybe the Lord wants you to live for Him. To stand in front of a firing squad may be easier than going to prison and living for years as a witness.

His friends and fellow travelers from the mission field pleaded with him, Philip and his daughters pleaded with him, and the other believers in Caesarea joined their voices to the general plea. However, when Paul’s friends saw that he was not going to change his mind about the matter they threw up their hands and said, “The will of the  Lord be done” (v. 14). There will no doubt be times in our lives when we are faced with a situation like this that we cannot change, and all we can do is just turn it over to the Lord. From here Paul got ready to go to Jerusalem but he was invited to stay overnight in the home of Mnason before leaving (vv. 15-16).


I need to be very careful about telling the Lord I will serve Him and then refuse to obey what he has already told me in his Word.

Acts 21:10-16 (English Standard Version)

While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And 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.'" When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then 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." And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, "Let the will of the Lord be done." After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. And 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.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »