Read Acts 21
Focus on verse 13-14
What to one person appears to be determination and focus, could well be seen as obstinate hardheadedness to another. There is a low-German word my ancestors would use to describe such a person which directly over-set into English might be the term “iron-headed”. In most cases when this word was used it was not intended as a compliment. One who was “iron-headed” was a person with whom no one could reason. They had their mind made up and it was not changing.
In today’s reading Luke describes a situation in which the Apostle Paul might have been considered a little iron headed. In fact his personality seems to lend itself well to this type of mindset. I can think of a few other cases where he made it clear that once he had set his mind on something he fully intended to see it through or die trying. His intention to travel to Jerusalem was such a matter.
Despite clear warnings from friends who who were practically begging him not to go to Jerusalem, Paul was determined;
Then Paul answered, “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.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” (v. 13-14)
Those closest to him understood that there was no point in trying to reason with him further. Paul was going to Jerusalem, and he was not going to be dissuaded from his plan, so they reigned themselves to pray and hope that by some miracle Paul would survive the experience. As it turns out he does survive, but not without creating a huge disturbance in the temple court that results in his arrest.
While it may have seemed foolish to some of those with Paul who attempted to dissuade him from going, as we consider the grand scheme of things, we will discover in the remaining chapters of the book of Acts that God used Paul’s iron headed determination to bring the gospel message to places and people who would have never heard it any other way. Not all of them responded favorably to the message, but that was not Paul’s concern. His concern was to be faithful in delivering it.
We often forget this principle as we consider the people around us whom God brings into our sphere of influence. Our role is not to convert them. Our role is simply to deliver the message of eternal life to them in both word and deed as clearly as possible. Whether they choose to accept the message is between them and God.