Fear is crippling; it is an adversary that stands arrogantly lodged in the doorway of opportunity. As I hear my pastor speak of Paul’s disenchanted journey to Jerusalem, I am reminded that fear is defeated by a single nod of obedience; Jesus said to go.
It wasn’t that Paul was confident of his survival, he said as much, and at multiple stages of the narrative, it appears apparent that he is about to be killed by the angry Jews.
All that Paul knows is that Jesus said to go, and he knows nothing other than his determination to be obedient to his Lord’s command.
There will be no conversions recorded for us in this text to read about. To the observer it seems Paul went there only to antagonize a mob with the truth. This of course isn’t true, for Paul had no greater desire than for his brethren to hear the gospel and respond rightly. They didn’t though. They beat him and asked for his death. Save for a peace-keeping garrison of Roman soldiers, and Paul’s citizenship, they would have gotten their wish.
It is enough for Paul to hear his Lord say, “Be encouraged. You faithfully shared of me in Jerusalem, now you must testify in Rome (Acts 23:11).”
While it’s not to take lightly that there are those in our world who will, the odds are pretty good that I’ll not be beaten today for sharing my faith. But I wonder if as Paul, at the close of this day, I can say that fear hasn’t blocked any open doors?