Acts 21: Paul in Jerusalem & His Arrest
“Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” – Acts 21:13
I hope that you are well and I conscientiously want and speak nothing but good and God’s blessings for you and your family. For those of you who are hurting, I’m sorry that you have been so hurt by words or circumstances to the point of where you are. I only ever want to help and not hurt – intentionally or unintentionally. Whatever passing thought I may or may not have to help heal that comes out is not intentional in design in anything except to help me through the process of writing. So, thank-you for reading!
We’re back in our study of the book of Acts and we’re in chapter 21. Here, we see Paul leaving the Christians at Miletus on his journey to Jerusalem. As he sets sail and makes a few stops, Paul eventually makes his way to Caesarea where Philip, who was one of the seven deacons, resided (v. 8).
While there, the prophet Agabus came from Judea and prophesied to Paul that the Jews would seize him and deliver him over to the Gentiles in Jerusalem (v. 11). Those who were with Paul pleaded with him not to go, but Paul responded that he was ready to die for the name of the Lord (v. 13).
Paul finally arrived at Jerusalem and went to see James, and all the elders of the church were present, too. He told them of how God had worked among the Gentiles. And they informed Paul how many of the Jews had come to believe (v. 20). Then they brought up the issue of circumcision again. The elders wanted Paul to show the believing Jews that he, too, observed the law of Moses and was not an enemy of it (v. 21).
The elders asked for Paul to purify himself along with four men who had taken a vow and pay for them to shave their heads (v. 24). It was probably a Nazarite vow (Num. 6). They thought that it would appease the Jews who were worried about what Paul’s teachings were on the law (v. 24).
Paul did as was requested of him, but again, Paul taught in many places that Christians are not debtors to keep the law. Yet, he said in 1 Corinthians 9:20 that: “To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law.” So, Paul went ahead with the purification with the four Christians as a matter of expedience (1 Cor. 10:23).
Recall in Romans 14:21, Paul said that it’s a noble thing to not eat meat, drink wine, or do anything that causes a brother to stumble. So, in order to keep peace and win souls, Paul became as a Jew.
After the seven days of purification were almost over, the Jews saw Paul in the temple and began to stir up mess and cause a riot (v. 27). And just as Agabus had prophesied, the Jews seized Paul, dragged him out of the temple, beat him, and sought to kill him (vs. 30-31).
Then they handed Paul over to the commander and soldiers who arrested him. The violent mob yelled “Kill him!” (v. 36). But what they probably didn’t know was that Paul was ready to be arrested and, even, to die for the cause of Christ (v. 13).
Paul had a strong faith. That’s why he could say “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phili. 1:21). He had the hope of an eternal home in heaven with the Lord.
You can have that hope, too, if you will obey the Lord’s command. Believe in Jesus, repent of your sins, confess that He is Lord, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.
Paul had many struggles and faced a lot of persecution, but He served a God who is Lord over all struggles and all persecution. That’s why he could face whatever came his way. What a great example for us today.