The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and appreciation of the gift of the prophet.
25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.
10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'”
12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 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.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” 15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem.
Observation and Reflections
Note: Agabus is one prophet we read about on these two occasions in the book of Acts.
- What prophesy did Agabus give in Acts 11?
- What was the desired outcome from this message from God to His people?
- In this section we read that Agabus was one of a number of prophets who traveled from the Jerusalem church(es) to visit the new congregation(s) in Antioch. What does that suggest of the early church and the ministry of prophets?
- Summarize what you can learn from the ministry of the New Testament prophet in this account.
- What prophesy did Agabus give in Acts 21?
- Note how he delivered the message; (i) what does that suggest of how he received the prophesy/ insight by God related to the future? [hint: think visually] (ii) and what does to suggest of the temperament of prophets?
- We notice that this congregation interpreted the message different from Paul. What can you learn about prophesy and interpretation in this regard?
- Again, summarize what you can learn from the ministry of the New Testament prophet in this account.
- If the teacher is preoccupied with the Word of God, the pastor with the well-being of the congregation, and the evangelist with bringing in the harvest – what do you think is the preoccupation of the prophet? Another way to ask this is: if the eyes of the teacher is in the Word, the eyes of the pastor in the sheep, and the eyes of the evangelist is toward the harvest – where is the gaze of the prophet?
- If Jesus “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry…” what do you think should the prophet equip the members in the local church to do?
- Considering Agabus’ message in Acts 11 (above) – what is the danger of not cultivating and encouraging the gift of the prophet in the local church?
- Considering the example of how Agabus delivered the message in Acts 21 (above), what is the danger of the church’s relationship with prophets today?
Application and prayer
- Have you been equipped by a prophet (or someone who flows in the gift of prophesy) to hear and respond appropriately to the voice of God? If not – decide to position yourself today to “be equipped for the work of the ministry!” Ask your church leaders to help and pray that God will lead you to be equipped to hear the voice of God and respond appropriately.
- Do you have prophets functioning in your local church? If you know them, ask the Lord for more grace and boldness and a platform to teach and inspire in the church. If you do not know any, pray to the Lord for these gifts to raise or add these gifts in your church.
- Lastly, ask the Lord to entrust a message from his heart to someone who crosses your path today, and for grace to deliver the message accurately and boldly. Will you be obedient?