Saturday, August 21, 2010

Acts Chapter Twenty-One

Acts Chapter Twenty-One (NIV)
Acts Chapter Twenty-One (NASB)


Verses 1-16: Paul travels to Jerusalem.

Verses 17-26: Paul meets with James and the elders.

Verses 27-36: Paul is arrested in the Temple.

Verses 37-40: Paul asks to speak to the Jews.


Acts 21:4--"And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem." On the surface, this verse seems to conflict with other passages (e.g. Acts 20:22), which state that the Spirit was leading Paul to go to Jerusalem. We see what's happening a few verses later, however, when Agabus prophesies about what will happen to Paul in Jerusalem. The Spirit revealed that suffering and imprisonment await Paul, and some of the disciples interpret this to mean that Paul should avoid Jerusalem, in order to avoid the suffering and imprisonment. Paul, however, understands that persecution isn't always something to be avoided, and that the Lord wants him to endure it as a witness to the Jews.

Acts 21:8-9--"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. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied." In Acts 2:16-21, Peter announced that Joel's prophecy (Joel 2:28-29) was being fulfilled. Part of the prophecy declared that "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy." Here we see Philip's daughters prophesying, in fulfillment of Joel's prophecy and Peter's confirmation.

Acts 21:13--"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.'” While it is difficult to stand by and do nothing while a fellow believer is being persecuted, Paul wanted the disciples to understand that persecution is part of being a Christian. Indeed, suffering for the sake of the Lord Jesus is an honor, not a disgrace.

Acts 21:26--"Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them." Paul had no objections to Jewish Christians retaining their Jewish heritage, provided they understood that the Law does not save them. Paul's objection to the Law came when some Jewish believers insisted that the Gentiles must obey the Old Testament Law.


JesusTheOnlyWay said...

This was perfect timing! My Sunday School material for teaching my class is on Acts 21 and 22 tomorrow. Thanks!

donna60 said...

I personally believe that the brotherhood at Jerusalem was waaaay out of line for having Paul do this.

I think that they were only interested in appeasing Judaizers in the church.

These were the same Judaizers who had gone down to Antioch and were promoting that filth! These were the same Judaizers who had troubled the Galatians. How dare Jewish believers cling to that temple! And how dare they request that Paul, who had spent his life refuting Judaism, spend his wealth on that clap-trap! What a slap in the face!

And not just that, what a slap in the face to the gentile churches that were poor as dirt themselves, but they had contributed to the funds given to the Christians in Jerusalem.

Think about that! The only money Paul had would have been the money from the contribution sent to the Jerusalem church. James told him to spend it on some Jewish ceremony that isn't even biblical. It was some new way for the Jewish leaders to bring in money.

So these poor former Gentiles had contributed from their means for the poor saints in Jerusalem.--The Macedonians contributed beyond their means.

Do you really think they would have done that so some Jewish boys could undergo some "purification ceremony" in the temple? Do you think they would have taken wealth and well-being from their own children, so that some Judaizers could have themselves a little purification ceremony, that meant n-o-t-h-i-n-g in Christianity?
Would you?

I've got a time line of 57 CE for the events in Acts 21. In thirteen years that temple was destined to be levelled to the ground by Titus.

Hardly worth the cost Paul was asked to pay with his own life and limb.