And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:22-24
With joy and with tears, for a believer may have both at the same time, Paul summarizes for us that he has preached and taught repentance toward God– which is the first movement of one’s soul toward God. With His blood Christ has made a Way for us to God and we begin with repentance. And as Paul is a captive to Holy Spirit; as are we. Spirit has all of Paul– soul, mind, and worldly possessions. Does Spirit have all of you too?
Everything that we are and have belongs to Christ, not us. Just as Jesus spoke to the rich young man who wanted to follow Him and said, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:22) Everything that we are is of Christ.
In our unity with Christ we are transformed by Spirit to see with heart’s direction what really matters. Being led by the Spirit is key, my friend. Or as Paul puts it, you and I are a captive to the Spirit. Believers witness to the truth of this as Christ’s present awesome activity is shown to us in moments, circumstances, and events. Sometimes Spirit wants us to do or say something or to wait. Spirit captive we trust Jesus and obey Him.
Just as Jesus did, Paul knows that he is heading to Jerusalem where he will be arrested and that his death is near. Paul is not afraid. In his meeting in Miletus with the Ephesus Christian leaders who have come to love on him, Paul stresses that he does not count his life of any value to himself– he and other disciples (in the Scriptures) express their contempt for the world too. The affluences and worldly enjoyments mean nothing to Paul.
Just as Jesus our Savior, Paul’s goal is to finish his ministry testifying to the Good News of God’s Grace and Mercy to us. We see in Paul proof of his love for Christ, evidence of Spirit guiding him, and Christ liked-ness that gives awe. May it be so for us too! Where the world flees calamity, Paul forges ahead led by Spirit. When persecution is at its height and others shrink, Paul stands firm in Christ to testify for Him unto his last breath here in the world.