Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem

Acts xx: 2, to xxi: 16.

dropcap image FTER his three years at Ephesus in Asia Minor, Paul sailed across the Ægean Sea to Macedonia. There he visited again the churches in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. Then he went southward into Greece, and saw again the church at Corinth, to which shortly before he had written two long letters. While Paul was visiting these churches he told them of the believers in Christ among the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea; that many of these were very poor, and since they had become disciples of Christ the other Jews would not help them. Therefore Paul asked the Gentile churches everywhere to send gifts to these poor people. He said in his letters:

"These people have sent the word of Christ to you; now send to them your gifts to show that you love them, and to show that you thank God for the gift of his Son who saves you from your sins."

From each of the churches men were chosen to go with Paul to Jerusalem and to carry these gifts. From Berea, the place where so many had studied the Scriptures, as we read in Story 158, went a man named Sopater. From Thessalonica went Aristarchus and Secundus. From Derbe in Asia Minor, Gaius and Timothy were sent; and from the other churches in Asia Minor, Tychicus and Trophimus. All these went on before, and waited for Paul at Troas, on the shore of the Ægean Sea. Paul's friend Luke the doctor joined him again at Philippi, and they sailed together to Troas. There the other disciples met them, and they stayed for a week.

On the evening of the first day of the week, a farewell meeting was held at Troas, for Paul and his party, who on the next day were to start on their journey to Jerusalem. The meeting was in a large upper room on the third story of a house, and it was filled with people who had come to hear Paul. While Paul was speaking, one young man, named Eutychus, who was sitting in a window, dropped asleep, and in his sleep fell out of the window upon the ground, two stories below. He was taken up dead; but Paul went down, and fell on him, and placed his arms around him, saying, "Do not weep for him, for his life is still in him."

Then Paul went up again, and broke the bread with the believers and held with them the Lord's Supper; and then he talked again for a long time, even until the break of day. And they brought the young man living, at which they were very happy.

All the rest of the party going to Jerusalem except Paul, went on board the ship at Troas. But as the ship was to stop on the way at a place called Assos, Paul chose to go to that place on foot. At Assos, they took Paul on board, and sailed for some days among the islands of the Ægean Sea, and stopped at Miletus, which was not far from Ephesus. Paul did not wish to go to Ephesus, but he sent to the elders of the church, asking them to come and meet him at Miletus. They came, and Paul said to them:

"You know from the first day that I set foot in this part of Asia, after what manner I was with you all the time, serving the Lord with a lowly mind, and with tears, and with many troubles which came upon me from the plots of the Jews. You know, too how faithfully I spoke to you, teaching you in public and from house to house, to repent of your sins, and to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.

"And now, bound in my spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what shall come upon me there, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in every place that chains and troubles will meet me. But I do not hold my life of any account, as dear to me: so that I may run out my race in Christ, and may do the work given me by the Lord Jesus, to preach the good news of God's grace. And now, I know that you all, among whom I went preaching the kingdom, shall see my face no more.

"Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care, as shepherds to feed the church, which the Lord Jesus bought with his own blood. I know that after I go away, enemies, like savage wolves, shall come among you, not sparing the flock, and also among yourselves men shall rise up speaking false things and leading away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease warning you, night and day, with tears.

"And now, I leave you with God, and with the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to make you fit to dwell among his holy ones. I have not sought among you gold, or silver, or fine clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have worked for my own living, and to help those who were with me. I have tried to show you by my own life how that you should in the same way help those who are weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

When Paul had said this, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him; for they felt very sad at his words, that they should see his face no more. They went with him to the ship, and saw him sail away from them.

Paul and his company sailed among the islands and toward the land of Judea, and went ashore at Tyre. There they found disciples, and stayed with them a week. Some of these spoke to Paul in the Spirit of God, and told him not to go into Jerusalem. But Paul had set his face toward that city; and when he found a ship going from Tyre to Judea, all the disciples, with their wives and their children, went with him out of the city; and all knelt down together on the beach and prayed, before they parted from each other. Paul's party left the ship at a place called Ptolemais, from which they walked down the shore to Caesarea. This was the place where years before Peter had given the gospel to the Roman centurion Cornelius, as we read in Story 154. And there Paul found Philip, the man who had preached to the Samaritans and to the nobleman from Ethiopia, of whom we read in Story 152. In those old days, Paul, then Saul, had been Philip's enemy, and had driven him out of Jerusalem. Now they met as friends, and Paul stayed as a guest at Philip's house.

While they were at Caesarea, an old man named Agabus, came down from Jerusalem. He was a prophet, to whom God had shown some things that were to come to pass. We have read of a prophecy by this man before, in Story 156. This man came to Paul, and took off Paul's girdle, and with it bound his own feet and hands, and he said:

"Thus saith the Spirit of God, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owns this girdle, and shall give him into the hands of the Gentiles.' "

When they heard this, all Paul's friends, and Philip, and the disciples of Caesarea, pleaded with Paul and begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. But Paul answered:

"What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus!"

When they saw that Paul could not be moved from his purpose, they ceased trying to persuade him, saying, "The will of the Lord be done."

After some days in Caesarea, Paul and his friends, with some of the believers from Caesarea, went up the mountains to Jerusalem. So Paul was once more, and now for the last time, in the city of his people.