Acts 21

Author

Joel King

Scripture

Acts 21:1-40

Observation

· From Miletus the sailed to Tyre where they stayed with the disciples for seven days. The disciples begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem as the Spirit led them to what would happen.
· They prayed for Paul and his companions who continued on to Caesarea
· They stayed with the evangelist Philip who was one of the seven deacons chosen to care for the widows.
· Phillip had four daughters, all could prophesy
· Another prophet came from the city of Agabus
· This prophet was moved by the Holy Spirit and took Paul’s belt and prophesied that the owner, Paul, would be bound up in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles
· The Christians there tried to persuade Paul not to go
· Paul didn’t disagree with the prophesy, but insisted he was ready for whatever God had in store for him in Jerusalem
· They still pleaded and finally agreed that God’s will must be done
· Paul and his companions were greeted warmly in Jerusalem and taken to James and the elders of the church and Paul gave a full report of his ministry to these leaders.
· The disciples in Jerusalem were thankful for the work Paul was doing
· However, they were also fearful of the rumors that Paul was teaching Jewish Christians to disregard Moses, and encouraged him to participate in a Jewish ceremony that showed his commitment to the Jewish ways.
· They then clarified that this way of living wasn’t for all Christians, for they had told the Gentile churches they didn’t have to obey the law and Moses, but it did apply to Jews who were trying to reach other Jews with the Good News.
· Paul agreed and went through the Jewish ceremony
· Towards the end of the ritual some Jews from the province of Asia (the Gentile area reached the two years Paul was in Ephesus) saw Paul and stirred up the people against him accusing him of bbringing a non-purified Gentile into the holy Jewish temple.
· The Jewish city was in an uproar over the prospect of Gentiles being in the Temple (untrue) and seized Paul and intended on beating him to death.
· The Roman soldiers heard the uproar and the crowd stopped beating Paul when they arrived
· Paul was arrested and the commander couldn’t get to the bottom of what was really happening
· The crowd just kept shouting to have him taken away
· Paul talked with the commander who mistook Paul for an Egyptian terrorist
· Paul identified himself as a Jew and a Roman citizen

Application

· Just because the Holy Spirit shows us that something is going to be hard, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it
· God uses others to speak into our lives, but we must listen to God ourselves to discern his will
· Just because we are free to do something by the letter of the law, doesn’t mean we should do it
· Our witness for Jesus trumps our freedoms in Christ

Prayer

Dear Lord,
I want to hear your voice and understand your instruction. Help me not shrink back from your plan even when it’s hard. Please develop in me a love for others that I put aside self, more and more, in order to be used to bring others to you. May our church be marked by a singular focus of sharing the good news of our Lord Jesus with all those around us. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN



10 comments (Add your own)

1. Jim Asselin wrote:
It was all I could do not to read CH 22 - what a cliff hanger. Indeed Joel, the Holy Spirit may speak, and we can be convinced by people who confirm the same message as well as find scripture to back up a decision, but in the end I need to discern what exactly God is saying and how he is speaking. How many times God's plan has been thwarted in my life because it didn't appear practical I will never know. I am thankful we have a gracious Redeemer, may that knowledge urge me to seek God ever more diligently even with the little matters in life.

Wed, March 4, 2015 @ 6:47 AM

2. Ernie Morales wrote:
That was what stood out to me as well. The Holy Spirit showed Paul what was ahead for him and it wasn't something I would like to hear if I were in his shoes. Yet Paul didn't seem to hesitate and knew his mission and purpose and was willing to do whatever it takes no matter what the cost was.

Wed, March 4, 2015 @ 3:16 PM

3. Rob Schulze wrote:
Playing catch-up on my SOAP...

Wow-- a lot of action in this chapter. Several things stood out to me in addition to Jim and Ernie's comments.

I'm struck by how networked the Church is throughout Paul's 3rd missionary journey. It seems wherever he travels between his destinations there's Phillip the evangelist or Mnason or other believers who Paul knows that can take him in.

I'm also struck by Paul's submission to the elders at Jerusalem. We know from his letters that Paul understands that he is an apostle (an apostle to the Gentiles), that God's given him authority and yet he willfully submits to the leadership of the Jewish church who are still living under the yoke of the law (then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law).

Where as we get the sense that Jewish and Gentile believers mixed and fellowshipped together elsewhere, here the Jewish believers remained a sect within Judaism. Church historians note that when Rome puts down Jewish hopes of nationalism and destroys the temple in 70AD that the Jerusalem Church moved to Pella (beyond the Jordan river) and Irenaeus notes in the 2nd century note that they've isolated themselves and “circumcise, continue obeying the prescriptions of the Law, and are so much influenced by Judaism that they worship Jerusalem as God’s dwelling.” Intersting to note that the Jerusalem Church never integrated with the rest of the church during the 2nd-4th centuries and died out in the 5th century.

Fri, March 6, 2015 @ 7:21 AM

4. Rob Schulze wrote:
I thought I had moved on with my day in a sense but it's cool how SOAP'ing and linger on during your day...

this is what struck me two hours later-- the parallel between Jesus going to Jerusalem and the cross and the parallel between Paul going to Jerusalem in Acts 21-23. Both Jesus and Paul knew they would be arrested and although Paul was uncertain if he would die like his Savior... he was more than willing to walk in his Lord's steps.

The Jewish leaders and their followers are just as zealous to see Paul die as they were to see Jesus die.

They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Revelation 12:11

"Father, just like our Lord Jesus, Paul and so many martyrs from the early church through today... may our witness for Jesus indeed trump our freedoms in Christ. May we have the wisdom to know how to overcome evil with good. I especially pray for the persecuted church throughout the world today, may they walk in a manner worthy of the calling they have received and may you walk with them like you walked with Paul... with the assurance of your love for them as they face persecution and death. In Jesus name."

Fri, March 6, 2015 @ 9:41 AM

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