Ready to die

 

 

“Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13)

 

            A person who is ready to die in a fight and rushes forward is really scary.  The reason is because he fights for his life.  If he scares us in such a way that it doesn't matter if he dies while fighting, who will stop him?

 

In Acts 21:13, we see the Apostle Paul who was ready to die and was about to go up to Jerusalem.  Although the Holy Spirit warned him that prison and hardships are facing him in every city (20:23), Paul was not shaken in his determination to go up to Jerusalem.  Among those cities, Paul arrived at Caesarea in Acts 21:13.  And there a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea, took Paul's belt, and tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles’” (v. 11).  At that time, Paul's companions and the people there, who heard this, persuaded Paul not to go up to Jerusalem (v. 12).  Then Paul said, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 13).

 

Paul was ready to die for Jesus Christ.  He was a man who risked his life for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He was a man who was prepared to die for the body of the Lord and the kingdom of God.  Look at Acts 20:24 – “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.”  Paul considered the mission he received from the Lord Jesus more important than his own life.  He valued completing the work of witnessing the gospel of God's grace more precious than his life.  How amazing is this value?  How did Paul value the mission he received from the Lord—the preaching of the gospel—more than his life?  I think the reason is in Psalms 63:3 – “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”  It was because of God's eternal love that Paul was able to value the mission he received from the Lord more than his own life.  Paul, who was realizing, feeling, and experiencing the eternal love of God, was grateful and moved by that love, and didn’t consider his life as precious at all in order to finish the mission of the Lord in testifying the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul, who was on fire for the mission he received from the Lord Jesus, saw that he was not only bound but also prepared to die, and those who advised him not to go up to Jerusalem stopped exhorting, saying, “The Lord’s will be done” (21:14).  After this, Paul and his companions got ready and went up to Jerusalem (v. 15).

 

For some reason, in the image of Paul going up to Jerusalem, I see Jesus as a lamb being led to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7).  Jesus, who lived from the stable in Bethlehem toward the cross on Calvary, and who gave His life on the cross for our salvation (eternal life), obeyed God the Father even to death (Phil. 2:8).  Like this Jesus, Paul, an apostle of Jesus, also went toward death.  When I think about how I could not have valued my life once in this world so much, I am again challenged to the importance of the mission I received from the Lord and to fulfill it.  As an evangelist with a burning sense of mission, I want to spend the rest of my life with an attitude of being ready to die in fulfilling the mission I received from the Lord.

 

 

 

 

Longing to become a burning evangelist and comforter of God's love,

 

 

 

James Kim

(October 18, 2008, Being thankful for God's eternal love, which is more precious than our seven or eighty years of our lives)