God tested Abraham. The tests God brings into my life seem so trivial compared to this test of Abraham. Yet, all of God's tests are ultimately the same. The question of each test is "Do you trust Me". The test of sacrificing Issac is God asking Abraham "Do you trust me with your future?" God had told Abraham His promise flowed through Isaac. Abraham believed that promise and sent Ishmael away. Now God is testing Abraham's obedience by asking him to lay his future on His altar. Hebrews 11:17–19 tells us Abraham believed God was able to raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill His promise. The question to us is "Am I as trusting of God and His promises as Abraham? "
There is always an ongoing discussion of who Jesus is throughout the Gospels. In most of these discussions there is an element of truth. Just as in this passage, the crowd declares Jesus to be a prophet. Obviously, He is a prophet, but He is much more. It is rare during Jesus' life on earth for Him to be seen and known in the completeness of who He is. Am I guilty of the same thing? Have I settled with knowing the easily seen Jesus without pursuing a depth of relationship?
Jesus, my Lord and my God, please forgive me for seeing You in part but not the whole. I want to know You as fully as You desire to be known. Please, Holy Spirit, strengthen my eyes, my mind and my heart to know Jesus.
This passage has always raised many questions for me. Since these disciples are speaking through the Spirit, why does Paul not take their counsel? Were they, in fact, warning him not to go to Jerusalem? Or was the Spirit allowing them to understand what lay before Paul as confirmation of what was to happen? As the Spirit speaks to individuals, can they interpret the insight differently?
In Acts 20:22-23, Paul tells the Ephesians "I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit". He tells them he does not know exactly what will happen in Jerusalem, but the Holy Spirit has told him "imprisonment and afflictions await me". Not only does this passage cause me to have questions, it also reminds me of Jesus as he goes to Jerusalem knowing more than imprisonment and afflictions await Him. Luke 9:51 says "He set His face to go to Jerusalem". Many translations add the adjective steadfastly or resolutely to describe Jesus' resolve to go to Jerusalem.
Sovereign Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of men and women who, like Paul, live their lives pointing to You. Thank you for the gift of Your Spirit who instructs and guides Your followers. Thank You for knowing the true cost, yet resolutely going to the cross for me. May I be like Paul, who trusted Your Spirit's instruction even as he heard conflicting arguments from those who loved and cared for him.