21 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s 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.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”
15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- V17 What warm brotherly love is shown here when the leaders of the Jerusalem church, forgetting that Paul was once the enemy of the gospel, genuinely embraced Paul when he arrived! ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) We should learn how to forgive and forget, and accept others just like God accepts us.
- V19-20 Paul reported how God had saved many gentiles through his preaching. Although God had honoured him more than any of the apostles, yet the response of other apostles to the successful ministry of Paul was encouraging – they did not envy him but on the contrary, glorified the Lord upon hearing these things.
- V21 There were some false reports stating that Paul told the Jews who lived among the Gentiles to turn from the Law of Moses – not to circumcise their children nor to keep the Jewish customs. However, there is no evidence that Paul ever taught these Jewish believers this way. When we work for the Lord, Satan will work at the same time – spreading rumours and hostility is one of Satan’s ways to ruin the unity of the church. ‘Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things’ (James 3:5). We must be aware of the terrible consequence of spreading untrue messages.
- V23-24 In order to demonstrate that Paul did not ask the Jews to forsake the law of Moses, the elders asked Paul to follow a Jewish custom in public – to accompany the four men who made a vow; to go through purification rituals with them and to pay their expenses to do so. Paul acted accordingly. This is a symbolic action to show that Paul stood in line with the law. Paul accommodated himself to the life-style of those whom he hoped to win for the gospel. As he said, ’When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ.’’ (I Corinthians 9:20) This is something we should learn in our ministry.
- V25 The Jerusalem Council decree set in Acts chapter 15 is reconfirmed here. Gentiles do not need to convert to Judaism in order to be saved as salvation is not about keeping law but by faith alone. The Jews could continue with their Jewish customs as long as they did not deny the gospel. Hallelujah! The salvation is finished and we can enjoy the salvation everyday by faith!
submitted by Terry
PRAYING IN FAITH
Pray that you really understand that we enjoy the salvation by faith but not by law keeping, so that you don’t please God by doing good things.
For your five
Pray that your five can accept brothers and sisters as Jesus accepts us.
For our church
Pray for our church that we don’t spread rumours and that we can endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.