Acts 21:17-26 Plans To Protect Paul

Proof of following the law

Paul and his group have finally arrived in Jerusalem. The first thing they do is meet with the elders at the home of James. I’m assuming the “elders” are the apostles. This group is the first to hear Paul’s full report.

Right after the greetings have been exchanged Paul begins a full description of everything that has happened during his travels. I wonder how long that took. Probably a great deal of time! I certain our text is only the tip of the iceberg on the things God did through Paul and his helper’s hands. Did he use an abridged version or share ALL of the amazing things that happened. I wonder how the story of Eutychus went. Did it get any laughs regarding Paul’s long windedness or gasps over the happenings to the young man? I’m sure there were more than a few “Glory to God”s sent up at its telling. Read more »

Acts 21:1-16 DON’T GO!

The Spirit gave this warning AND told Paul to go

We are with Paul on his final approach to Jerusalem. Everywhere he goes everyone is telling him the same thing; PLEASE DON’T GO!

Paul has had his face set towards Jerusalem for since the riot in Ephesus. It was a long and somewhat winding journey but it was always with Jerusalem as the final destination. Paul knew he was in for trouble when he got there but he went anyway. He didn’t know exactly what was going to happen once he got there. He was even prepared to die there. He would do whatever it was that the Lord had for him there.

On this leg of his journey we read about him being warned by several people. I am intrigued by Luke’s use of the phrase that “through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem” (verse 4). This wasn’t once but twice in our reading today. He was also warned in previous stops along this journey. My question is, if he was being led by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem why was the Spirit also telling him not to go through others? Was God testing his resolve? Was he preparing him for what lay ahead? The last warning comes with a physical demonstration. “Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Pauls’ 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”’” (verses 10b-11). Read more »

Acts 20:17-38 Paul’s Farewell to Ephesus

No safer place for those you love

We are on the way to Jerusalem with Paul. Today he calls the Ephesian elder to him. He didn’t want to go to Ephesus himself though. That would have been even harder on him than saying goodbye to this group.

Paul wants to say a personal farewell to these men. He has worked with them for three years. He trained them for the work himself, along with some of the other brothers who went with him.  This farewell is not easy.

Paul reminds them of his example while he was living among them. He worked tirelessly for the gospel. He helped the sick and poor with his own hands as well as cared for those who accompanied him in this work. He asks this group of elders to continue with that same kind of work and heart for others. Read more »

Acts 20:7-16 Asleep In The Window

Doesn’t want to miss a thing but can’t stay awake

We rejoin Paul on his way to Jerusalem. He wants to be there before Pentecost. He has a long way to go and a short time to get there. He also has several stops to make along the way.

Today’s story reminds me of when I was little and we would go hear a “long winded” evangelist who came to town. We would sometimes be in church for many hours; late into the night. Never did we have the “all nighter” that those listening to Paul had that night. We were allowed to curl up under a pew and go to sleep. Eutychus used a third story windowsill.

Paul is determined to get to Jerusalem. His march towards this destination is a lot like Jesus’ final visit there. He knows danger awaits him but he is intent on going. He expects to be jailed or killed. So he wants to make sure he shares everything he can with those he visits along the way. I’m not sure if this event happens while he and his band are in Troas or during their next stop. Read more »

Acts 20:1-6 On The Road Again

We walk together everywhere you go

We are at another traveling passage. After the commotion in the theatre it’s time for Paul to move on.

During the uproar, two of the disciples had been captured by the crowd. Luke tells us that “Paul sent for the disciples” after everything died down. Were the two who were captured the ones he sent for or was his call to all the disciples in Ephesus? He was already with several of them as they were the ones who prevented him from going to the captured friend’s rescue. Read more »