Summary: Paul makes his way back to Jerusalem
a. On April 21st, in the year 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez sailed into the harbor of Vera Cruz, Mexico. He brought with him only about 600 men, and yet over the next two years his vastly outnumbered forces were able to defeat Montezuma and all the warriors of the Aztec empire, making Cortez the conqueror of all Mexico.
b. How was this incredible feat accomplished, when two prior expeditions had failed even to establish a colony on Mexican soil? Here’s the secret. Cortez knew from the very beginning that he and his men faced incredible odds. He knew that the road before them would be dangerous and difficult.
c. He knew that his men would be tempted to abandon their quest and return to Spain. And so, as soon as Cortez and his men had come ashore and unloaded their provisions, he ordered their entire fleet of eleven ships destroyed. His men stood on the shore and watched as their only possibility of retreat burned and sank. And from that point on, they knew beyond any doubt there was no return, no turning back. Nothing lay behind them but empty ocean. Their only option was to go forward, to conquer or die.
d. In a similar kind of way, today, we are going to look at Paul’s fateful last trip to Jerusalem. Paul knew that bad things would happen to him while he was there, but he chose to go there anyway.
e. Paul wasn’t worried about the odds, because he was trusting God to pull him through. Paul knew that God had led him back to Jerusalem, and he was simply trusting God, and obeying him.
a. Last, week, we saw as Paul drew closer to his destination of Jerusalem that several people were warning him about. Even though Paul did not know all of the particulars, he did know that he would be facing trials and tribulations when he got there.
b. We saw this last week, as the believers at Tyre urged Paul not to go to Jerusalem, for fear that he would be killed there, and also last week we saw where Agabus came down from Jerusalem to Caesarea, where Paul was staying with Philip, and delivered a prophetic message to Paul concerning his eventual imprisonment.
c. But, the eventual outcome was that Paul would not be persuaded away from Jerusalem. He told the disciples that he was not only ready to be imprisoned, or bound at Jerusalem, but ready to be killed for his faith at Jerusalem.
d. So, the motives were right on the part of the people of Tyre, and Paul’s companions, but the simple fact of the matter was that Paul was called to go to Jerusalem, and he would do it.
e. When we left Paul last week, he was journeying with his companions and a believer named Mnason. They were headed to Jerusalem, and it was the intention of Paul and his party to stay at Mnason’s house while they were in Jerusalem.
f. We pick up from this point, as Paul and his party are arriving at Jerusalem. This would be Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem as recorded in scripture, and the fifth that we know about since Paul became a follower of Christ.
g. You can’t help but to compare Paul’s final trip to Jerusalem with the final trip that Jesus made. Both Paul and Jesus had people telling them not to go, but both went anyway, because it was God’s will. Both will be seized at the instigation of the Jews, and held by the Roman authorities.