What does Acts 21:14 mean?
ESV: And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”
NIV: When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, 'The Lord's will be done.'
NASB: And since he would not be persuaded, we became quiet, remarking, 'The will of the Lord be done!'
CSB: Since he would not be persuaded, we said no more except, "The Lord's will be done."
NLT: When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, 'The Lord’s will be done.'
KJV: And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.
NKJV: So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
Verse Commentary:
When Philip's daughters and Agabus warned the church in Caesarea Maritima that Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem, they begged Paul to stay away (Acts 21:9–12). They didn't understand that the Holy Spirit means for them to encourage Paul, not protect him. Paul has finally convinced the church as well as his traveling companions that this is the Holy Spirit's plan.

Paul is already resigned. He's known this will be his fate for several months (Acts 20:22–24). In fact, Paul was warned when he first came to Christ that he would face suffering (Acts 9:16). Paul's companions have been less sure. He's already escaped many entanglements, including being stoned (Acts 14:19). They find it difficult to think he should voluntarily walk into a situation where he will be imprisoned.

Jesus faced a similar situation. In the garden of Gethsemane, as He waited for the Sanhedrin guards to arrest Him, Jesus prayed, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). Jesus didn't want to be crucified, but He wanted to obey the Father and provide salvation for us more.

Jesus also endured "helpful" friends. When Jesus mentioned He needed to go to Jerusalem where He would be killed, Peter rebuked Him until Jesus told him, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" (Mark 8:31–33). In the garden of Gethsemane, as the guards surrounded Jesus, Peter again stepped in and tried to defend Him with a sword, and Jesus again rebuked him (Luke 22:49–51). Finally, after the resurrection, Mary Magdalene clung to Jesus so tightly He couldn't move. He gently reminded her that He had more work to do—and so did she (John 20:15–18).
Verse Context:
Acts 21:7–16 records Paul and his companions stopping in Caesarea Maritima. They are there briefly with the evangelist Philip before finally arriving in Jerusalem. For months, now, the Holy Spirit has warned Paul that when he reaches Jerusalem, he will be imprisoned and afflicted (Acts 20:22–23). The church in Tyre tried to stop him from going; the church in Caesarea will beg him. Paul reorients their concerns: Jesus comes first and if Jesus wants him to be imprisoned, he will serve his Savior in prison. The Holy Spirit's influence is meant to prepare Paul, not discourage him.
Chapter Summary:
In Acts 21, Paul returns to Judea from his third missionary journey and promptly gets arrested. He begins by visiting Philip in Caesarea Maritima. Church elders in Jerusalem ask Paul to help men fulfill a Nazirite vow, to dispel rumors he has apostatized his Jewishness. While doing so, Ephesian Jews accuse Paul of bringing one of his Gentile Ephesian companions into the temple. The Roman military tribune keeps the enraged crowd from tearing Paul limb from limb by arresting him.
Chapter Context:
Acts 21 fulfills the fears of many of Paul's friends. Throughout the last part of his third missionary journey the Holy Spirit has been telling him he will be arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 20:23–25). When Paul reacts to dire personal prophecy, the Jesus-followers in Caesarea Maritima try to stop him from going on (Acts 21:8–14). Through a complicated trail of rumors, lies, and wrong assumptions, things go according to the Holy Spirit's foreknowledge and Roman soldiers arrest Paul. He will face the next 5 years in custody in Caesarea and Rome, but he will spread Jesus' story the entire time (Acts 22—28).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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