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Summary: Paul’s third missionary journey was complete, having begun after a visit to “the church” in the holy city (18:22) and now ending there. His Greek mission was also complete. He would not return. Luke had prepared his readers well for this reality.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: IV.E.1: Welcomed by Brethren (Acts 21:15-26)

ACTS 21:15-26 (KJV)

15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.

16 There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.

20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.

23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;

24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the Temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

INTRODUCTION

Paul’s third missionary journey was complete, having begun after a visit to “the church” in the holy city (18:22) and now ending there. His Greek mission was also complete. He would not return. Luke had prepared his readers well for this reality. Paul had made the fact clear in his address to the Ephesian Elders (20:25). Paul’s own forebodings (20:22) and those of the Christians at Tyre and Caesarea have prepared us for the events that are about to unfold in Jerusalem. Paul showed notable courage in appearing openly at Jerusalem for the festival. His Gentile converts would not be there to support him; Jewish Christians present might well include some of his Judaizing opponents from Antioch, Galatia, and Corinth; and there would be crowds of orthodox Jews such as had plotted against him at the various towns he had visited. Paul would no longer give his witness as a free man in the subsequent narrative of Acts. He would be in chains, but the chains would be unable to bind his witness. His witness would indeed become bolder.

COMMENTARY

15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.

Paul’s journey was now nearly complete. There remained only the final sixty-four miles overland between Caesarea and Jerusalem; a two-day journey by horseback and three days by foot. After spending several days in Caesarea at the house of Phillip, Paul and his party packed up their belongings and set out for Jerusalem. For this final leg, they may have used pack animals{1]. This is all the more likely when one recalls that they were carrying the sizable collection from Paul’s Gentile churches. It would have been a considerable group making the trip, including Paul and Luke, those delegated by the churches to assist Paul in delivering the collection (20:4), and some of the Caesarean Christians (v. 16).

Although they had been told repeatedly that Paul would be beaten and arrested in Jerusalem, Paul’s traveling companions continued to travel with him. They would not leave Paul in his moment of crisis. Nothing could have been more definite than these warnings, but, like Christ on his final journey to Jerusalem, Paul knew what was ahead. Yet he did not allow the prospect of danger and suffering to prevent him from pursuing God’s will. Sometimes in obedience to the will of God, believers may find it necessary to refuse the reasonable counsel of friends who mean well, but do not understand the compelling leading of God’s Spirit.

Jerusalem was southeast of Caesarea, located on a high plateau, so travelers were always said to go “up” to it (11:2; 15:2).

16 There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

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