And so, with the tearful good-byes behind us, we were on our way. We made a straight run to Cos, the next day reached Rhodes, and then Patara.
There we found a ship going direct to Phoenicia, got on board, and set sail.
Cyprus came into view on our left, but was soon out of sight as we kept on course for Syria, and eventually docked in the port of Tyre. While the cargo was being unloaded,
we looked up the local disciples and stayed with them seven days. Their message to Paul, from insight given by the Spirit, was "Don't go to Jerusalem."
When our time was up, they escorted us out of the city to the docks. Everyone came along - men, women, children. They made a farewell party of the occasion! We all kneeled together on the beach and prayed.
Then, after another round of saying good-bye, we climbed on board the ship while they drifted back to their homes.
A short run from Tyre to Ptolemais completed the voyage. We greeted our Christian friends there and stayed with them a day.
In the morning we went on to Caesarea and stayed with Philip the Evangelist, one of "the Seven."
Philip had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
After several days of visiting, a prophet from Judea by the name of Agabus came down to see us.
He went right up to Paul, took Paul's belt, and, in a dramatic gesture, tied himself up, hands and feet. He said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: The Jews in Jerusalem are going to tie up the man who owns this belt just like this and hand him over to godless unbelievers."
When we heard that, we and everyone there that day begged Paul not to be stubborn and persist in going to Jerusalem.
But Paul wouldn't budge: "Why all this hysteria? Why do you insist on making a scene and making it even harder for me? You're looking at this backwards. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can't you see that?"
We saw that we weren't making even a dent in his resolve, and gave up. "It's in God's hands now," we said. "Master, you handle it."
It wasn't long before we had our luggage together and were on our way to Jerusalem.
Some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and took us to the home of Mnason, who received us warmly as his guests. A native of Cyprus, he had been among the earliest disciples.
In Jerusalem, our friends, glad to see us, received us with open arms.
The first thing next morning, we took Paul to see James. All the church leaders were there.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)