There are nearly innumerable reasons to admire the Apostle Paul, not least of them is his resolve to follow Jesus unto death.
As Paul is heading back from his third missionary journey, his companions begin urging him desperately to avoid Jerusalem. They prophesy over him, warning that he will be arrested for certain if he goes.
But Paul responds with these words:
“What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
I can’t help but feel the sting of guilt when I read these words. How many times have I been afraid to speak up about Jesus in a situation that might possibly lead to some minor verbal disagreement or ridicule? Yet Paul knows for certain that danger will overtake him and he goes anyway, determined to live and die for Jesus.
I’ve heard it said that it’s easier to die for Jesus than to live for him, but I think that’s baloney.
No one who is ashamed of Jesus in life will stand up for him in the face of death. And that scares me, because I rarely feel as though I successfully represent Christ to those who don’t know Him.
Paul stands as a reminder of the type of life that Jesus calls us to live. He also provides a goal to aim for. We must get to the place where we can agree and identify with Paul’s words.
Are we ready to live and die for the sake of Christ?
I want to feel the weight of that and answer a hearty “Yes!” but I know that this is rarely the case. So I need continual grace from God to live in the strength and power of the Spirit, facing all danger and persecution with joy, resolved to go wherever the Lord leads.
Ready to die.