The Way - Day 125 (Acts 21)

Daily Reading:
Acts 21
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
What temporal things most often distract you from eternal concerns? What is one step you might take this week to devote yourself to that which is eternal?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 42:1-2
OPTION 2: Proverbs 17:27-28
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:3-4
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Acts 21 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Acts 21
Paul boarded a ship bound for Jerusalem and on his journey they stopped in Tyre where he found some disciples who told him through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem (21:1-4). They had foreseen the persecution Paul would face in Jerusalem, so they were attempting to stop him from encountering this hardship. Even though Paul understood their concern, he felt that he needed to go to Jerusalem so he departed and eventually arrived in Caesarea where he stayed in the house of Philip (21:5-8). While staying at the home of Philip, a prophet named Agabus (see Acts 11:27-30) came there and warned Paul of his upcoming imprisonment at Jerusalem (21:9-11). Many began pleading with Paul to suspend his journey to Jerusalem, but he told them that he was "ready not only to be bound, but also die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (21:12-13). Paul was on a mission and willing to do whatever it took to spread the message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ. With all of his heart, Paul desired to be used by God for the furtherance of the gospel even if preaching would cost him his life. How far am I willing to go for the sake of Jesus Christ?

Upon his arrival in Jerusalem, Paul met with the disciples and told them of all the things which had been occurring among the Gentiles (21:15-19). The people rejoiced for all the Gentiles who were being saved, but they quickly warned Paul about the Judaizers (believed salvation comes through obedience to the law of Moses), who knew he was in Jerusalem (21:20-21). Paul was not against the law of Moses, but he did not believe keeping it could bring salvation. Throughout his ministry, Paul always tried to be respectful to the Jewish traditions such as making Timothy, a Gentile, get circumcised so that he could more effectively minister to the Jews (see Acts 16:1-3).

Since the leaders in the church at Jerusalem were concerned for Paul, they asked him to take a Nazarite vow (symbolized a total commitment to God) and go through a Jewish purification ritual in order to show them that he "walk[ed] orderly and keep the law"(21:22-24). James was not requiring Paul to disregard the decision of the Jerusalem council (see Acts 15), but was only asking him to be respectful of Jewish tradition. Paul began this seven day purification ritual and on the final day he entered the temple but they immediately took him captive and began beating him with every intention of putting him to death (21:26-31). When a Roman commander heard what was happening, he took soldiers to the scene, but could not discern why they were beating this man so he commanded them to imprison him (21:32-34). The crowd became so violent against Paul that he had to be carried by the soldiers to the barracks while the mob shouted, "Away with him!" (21:35-36)

When I see Paul's passion for Jesus Christ, I am convicted of my lack of devotion to Him. Although I profess belief in His saving power, I struggle with making my life fully available to Him to be used however He sees fit.

Paul had arrived in Jerusalem and was well received by the Christians; however, they warned of possible persecution because many were saying that he ignored Jewish customs and traditions (21:15-21). Although Paul was careful to respect the law of Moses, he did not believe obedience to the law could bring salvation. Throughout his ministry, the Jews had often opposed Paul because of his message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Regretfully, the Jews did not accept Jesus as Savior and therefore rejected Paul's teaching and sought to silence him. Paul was aware of the danger he faced from the Jews, but this did not hinder his teaching and preaching.

When the leaders at Jerusalem made Paul aware of the dangers facing him, he decided to honor Jewish tradition by engaging in a seven day purification ritual (21:22-26). This ritual reflected a cleansing after a Jew had traveled to a Gentile city. Paul entered the temple on the seventh day, but was immediately taken captive by a mob of people and the angry multitude sought to kill him (21:27-31). A Roman commander and his soldiers stepped in and took Paul captive, but while he was being taken he asked the commander to speak to the people (21:32-39). The Roman commander agreed so Paul motioned to the people and when they became silent, he began to speak saying, "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now" (21:40-22:1).