“And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:15)
Paul and his companions were on their way to Jerusalem. They had traveled a long way, mostly across the Mediterranean Sea. Now they were on the last part of their journey, going from Caesarea on the coast and then inland toward Jerusalem.
Luke traveled with Paul, indicated by the use of “we” in this sentence. In writing about this part of the trip Luke said something small, yet in my mind significant. He noted, “we packed.” This is noticeable because this was the end of a long journey, yet Luke never before noted that they packed. They sailed from Miletus to Cos, from Cos to Rhodes, from Rhodes to Patara, from Patara to Tyre, Tyre to Ptolemais, and then finally from Ptolemais to Caesarea. They obviously packed and unpacked at each step along the way, but Luke never mentioned it. He only wrote about it here, as they prepared to leave Caesarea and go to Jerusalem.
This makes me think that perhaps this was the first time Luke visited Jerusalem, and like any follower of Jesus, he was excited. He knew that this was the famous City of David, the location of the great temple, and the place where Jesus taught, did miracles, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven. Luke thought that every detail of this last part of their long journey was exciting, and so like an excited tourist he even mentioned, “we packed.”
Beyond the sweet, personal character of those words, there are a few other things to consider about this mention that “we packed and went.”
It shows us that God loves order, and packing is simply the ordering of what we have in preparation for travel. God is a God of order and planning, and our desire to have things in order is a reflection of His image in us. We should never make order and organization an idol, but it is important to be mindful of them because God is full of order and organization.
It shows us that it is wise to prepare for where we are going. Paul, Luke, and the others traveling with them each knew that packing would help them be ready for both their travel to Jerusalem and their time there. Therefore they took the foresight to get ready by carefully packing. The same principle is true for us. We all have an appointment with the future. This is true for the near future, and it is wise for us to prepare for what lies ahead in this life. So, get an education. Learn a trade. Develop a skill. Prepare for the future.
It is even truer for our eternal future. Each of us has an appointment with eternity, one that no one escapes. You should do your packing for that journey. Give your attention to eternal things right now. That means:
– Give attention to God Word, which is eternal.
– Give attention to people, who are eternal.
– Give attention to giving, to send treasure ahead to heaven.
Before you go up to the New Jerusalem, make sure you have packed and prepared for the trip.