“Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13
It takes great courage to say that I am ready to die. Paul wasn’t sure what would happen to him if he goes to Jerusalem. He could have easily averted from his journey plan. Since he was courageous in Christ, he made such a bold statement of faith. Despite of the situation he was in, Paul clung to what he preached. That’s why in His second letter to the Corinthians, He says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18). He was aware that the temporal suffering he has to experience isn’t worth comparing to the eternal glory He would inherit from God. In his ministry, Paul went through a lot of persecutions yet unmoved by them. He knew that the life he lived wasn’t permanent but the one he would live with God is. Moreover he felt it was a privilege to die for his faith in Christ, who alone is able to raise him from the dead and adorn Him with the crown of life. Having lived a Christ centered life, He was determined that even death would be a gain which he affirms in Philippians 1:21 saying, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul’s statement isn’t an expression of his anguish in life but the outcome of his unwavering faith in Christ. He was clear that a much better place awaits him in heaven prepared by his Lord. That’s why even after being seized by the Jerusalem mob and the possibility of being killed by them, he still found it as an opportunity to share his faith. He even went on to witness Jesus Christ with Governor Felix and King Agrippa. Many a time in our lives, we tend to lose hope when the circumstances doesn’t turn out as we expect. We even go on to make unbelieving statements questioning God. However, Paul’s approach in times of distress is a wake-up call for us to keep our focus straight and steady on things eternal. The moment we die, we lose everything we gained through our worldly living but what we did for Christ alone will remain. For people outside faith, death is the end of all. But for those who are saved, death is the beginning of life.