Acts 21:1-14 (JDV)
Acts 21:1 After we had withdrawn from them, we set sail straight for Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
Acts 21:2 Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail.
Acts 21:3 After we sighted Cyprus, passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, since the ship was to unload its cargo there.
Acts 21:4 We sought out the disciples and stayed there seven days. Through the Breath they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:5 When our days had come to an end, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, accompanied us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray,
Acts 21:6 we said farewell to one another and boarded the ship, and they returned to their own places.
Acts 21:7 When we completed our voyage from Tyre, we reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day.
Acts 21:8 The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him.
Acts 21:9 This man had four prophesying virgin daughters.
Acts 21:10 After we had been there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
Acts 21:11 He came to us, lifted up Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Sacred Breath says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man who owns this belt and deliver him over to the Gentiles.'”
Acts 21:12 When we heard this, both we and the local people pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:13 Then Paul reacted, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? You see, I am ready not only to be tied up but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Acts 21:14 Since he would not be persuaded, we said no more except, “The Lord’s desire be done.”
On Paul’s way back to Jerusalem, he stopped off at a number of places, and wherever he stops, he finds a group of believers. Not only that, but these places have functioning churches. Not only that, but there are a number of those in ministry of all kinds — especially prophets. There is even a family (Philip’s) which has four single female prophets in it. Imagine that… a first century Christian home with four unmarried female ministers in it. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that prophets were among the Holy Spirit’s equipping ministry gifts.
The modern day church has fallen to a formal structure that tends to restrict what the Holy Spirit can do. He still calls a lot of people to ministry, but many of them cannot follow that calling. They are limited by a cultural straitjacket that predetermines what ministry is acceptable and who can function where. That is not God’s fault. He did not create the cultural straitjacket.
Lord, surprise us with those you call to work among us, equipping us for ministry and mission.