At Caesarea around A.D. 58, Paul and his fellow missionaries had been staying with Philip, an evangelist whose work in the cities of the sea-coast stretched nearly a quarter of a century. There, Paul was visited by Agabus, a prophet from Judea who foretold of the suffering that awaited the missionary in Jerusalem.
In spite of the prophecies and visions brought on by the Holy Spirit, the missionary could not be dissuaded, instead he called the forthcoming suffering holy and glorifying to the Lord.
“15 And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:15)
After Paul and his fellow laborers had stayed with Philip at Caesarea for a time, they collected their baggage before heading out to Jerusalem where they looked forward to Pentecost, the festival that celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ.
“16 Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge. 17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.” (Acts 21:16-17)
Thanks to a disciple named Mnason, Paul and his envoy secured a place to stay while in Jerusalem. This would be Paul’s fifth visit to the holy city since his trip from Jerusalem to Damascus where He was forever transformed from a pharisee, who persecuted Christians to a servant of the risen Christ.
“18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.” (Acts 21:18-19)
On this day, Paul and his fellow laborers visited James, the brother of Jesus, and leader of the church at Jerusalem. There, Paul delivered an account of the immense success of his works with the Gentiles throughout his mission throughout the region.
“20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.” (Acts 21:20-21)
As they heard Paul’s report on the success of his mission, Jerusalem church elders questioned the harvest, as thousands of Gentiles who were led to Christ were not commanded to abide by the Jewish law, rather they were brought up to rely on the fact the old covenant had passed away with the coming of the Messiah. Paulo argued his message was not to draw Jews away from the law but instead, he preached the truth about the new covenant, which delivered Jews and Gentiles from the chains that bound servants to the Mosaic law in the old covenant.
“22 What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.” (Acts 21:22-24)
Because he was under scrutiny by the church elders, Paul was asked to take along four Jewish Christians who would serve as witnesses to his works, and confirm that Paul’s ways and teaching were in tune with the customs of the Jewish race. As these four men would take a Nazaritish vow, and follow an ascetic life style for up to one month, Paul was responsible for affording their expenses during this time of purification.
“25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” (Acts 21:25)
James addressed the Gentile Christians, and reminded Paul of the expectations placed upon this group of believers, that they should refrain from sexual immorality, and abstain from things offered to idols, so to ensure a biblical sanctification process as each disciple walks the narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of God. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre