Paul Goes to Jerusalem 21 1 And when s we had parted from them and set sail, we t came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 1 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 u 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, v accompanied us until we were outside the city. And w 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 x the brothers 1 and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of y Philip z the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, a who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named b Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he c took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, d “Thus says the Holy Spirit, e ‘This is how the Jews 1 at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and f deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there g urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, g “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For h I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem i for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, j we ceased and said, k “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. Paul Visits James 17 When we had come to Jerusalem, l the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to m James, and all n the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, o he related one by one p the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his q ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they r glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all s zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all t the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, u telling them v not to circumcise their children or w walk according to x our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men y who are under a vow; 24 take these men and z purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, y so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, a we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, 1 and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day z he purified himself along with them and b went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and c the offering presented for each one of them.
21 1 Ὡς δὲ ἐγένετο ἀναχθῆναι ἡμᾶς ἀποσπασθέντας ἀπʼ αὐτῶν, εὐθυδρομήσαντες ἤλθομεν εἰς τὴν Κῶ, τῇ δὲ ἑξῆς εἰς τὴν Ῥόδον κἀκεῖθεν εἰς Πάταρα, 2 καὶ εὑρόντες πλοῖον διαπερῶν εἰς Φοινίκην ἐπιβάντες ἀνήχθημεν. 3 ἀναφάναντες δὲ τὴν Κύπρον καὶ καταλιπόντες αὐτὴν εὐώνυμον ἐπλέομεν εἰς Συρίαν καὶ κατήλθομεν εἰς Τύρον• ἐκεῖσε γὰρ τὸ πλοῖον ἦν ἀποφορτιζόμενον τὸν γόμον. 4 ἀνευρόντες δὲ τοὺς μαθητὰς ἐπεμείναμεν αὐτοῦ ἡμέρας ἑπτά, οἵτινες τῷ Παύλῳ ἔλεγον διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος μὴ ἐπιβαίνειν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα. 5 ὅτε δὲ ἐγένετο ἡμᾶς ἐξαρτίσαι τὰς ἡμέρας, ἐξελθόντες ἐπορευόμεθα προπεμπόντων ἡμᾶς πάντων σὺν γυναιξὶν καὶ τέκνοις ἕως ἔξω τῆς πόλεως, καὶ θέντες τὰ γόνατα ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν προσευξάμενοι 6 ἀπησπασάμεθα ἀλλήλους καὶ ἀνέβημεν εἰς τὸ πλοῖον, ἐκεῖνοι δὲ ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς τὰ ἴδια. 7 Ἡμεῖς δὲ τὸν πλοῦν διανύσαντες ἀπὸ Τύρου κατηντήσαμεν εἰς Πτολεμαΐδα καὶ ἀσπασάμενοι τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ἐμείναμεν ἡμέραν μίαν παρʼ αὐτοῖς. 8 τῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον ἐξελθόντες ἤλθομεν εἰς Καισάρειαν καὶ εἰσελθόντες εἰς τὸν οἶκον Φιλίππου τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ, ὄντος ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά, ἐμείναμεν παρʼ αὐτῷ. 9 τούτῳ δὲ ἦσαν θυγατέρες τέσσαρες παρθένοι προφητεύουσαι. 10 Ἐπιμενόντων δὲ ἡμέρας πλείους κατῆλθέν τις ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας προφήτης ὀνόματι Ἅγαβος, 11 καὶ ἐλθὼν πρὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ ἄρας τὴν ζώνην τοῦ Παύλου, δήσας ἑαυτοῦ τοὺς πόδας καὶ τὰς χεῖρας εἶπεν• τάδε λέγει τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον• τὸν ἄνδρα οὗ ἐστιν ἡ ζώνη αὕτη, οὕτως δήσουσιν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι καὶ παραδώσουσιν εἰς χεῖρας ἐθνῶν. 12 ὡς δὲ ἠκούσαμεν ταῦτα, παρεκαλοῦμεν ἡμεῖς τε καὶ οἱ ἐντόπιοι τοῦ μὴ ἀναβαίνειν αὐτὸν εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ. 13 τότε ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Παῦλος• τί ποιεῖτε κλαίοντες καὶ συνθρύπτοντές μου τὴν καρδίαν; ἐγὼ γὰρ οὐ μόνον δεθῆναι ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀποθανεῖν εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ ἑτοίμως ἔχω ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ. 14 μὴ πειθομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ἡσυχάσαμεν εἰπόντες• τοῦ κυρίου τὸ θέλημα γινέσθω. 15 Μετὰ δὲ τὰς ἡμέρας ταύτας ἐπισκευασάμενοι ἀνεβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα• 16 συνῆλθον δὲ καὶ τῶν μαθητῶν ἀπὸ Καισαρείας σὺν ἡμῖν, ἄγοντες παρʼ ᾧ ξενισθῶμεν Μνάσωνί τινι Κυπρίῳ, ἀρχαίῳ μαθητῇ. 17 Γενομένων δὲ ἡμῶν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἀσμένως ἀπεδέξαντο ἡμᾶς οἱ ἀδελφοί. 18 Τῇ δὲ ἐπιούσῃ εἰσῄει ὁ Παῦλος σὺν ἡμῖν πρὸς Ἰάκωβον, πάντες τε παρεγένοντο οἱ πρεσβύτεροι. 19 καὶ ἀσπασάμενος αὐτοὺς ἐξηγεῖτο καθʼ ἓν ἕκαστον, ὧν ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν διὰ τῆς διακονίας αὐτοῦ. 20 Οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες ἐδόξαζον τὸν θεὸν εἶπόν τε αὐτῷ• θεωρεῖς, ἀδελφέ, πόσαι μυριάδες εἰσὶν ἐν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τῶν πεπιστευκότων καὶ πάντες ζηλωταὶ τοῦ νόμου ὑπάρχουσιν• 21 κατηχήθησαν δὲ περὶ σοῦ ὅτι ἀποστασίαν διδάσκεις ἀπὸ Μωϋσέως τοὺς κατὰ τὰ ἔθνη πάντας Ἰουδαίους λέγων μὴ περιτέμνειν αὐτοὺς τὰ τέκνα μηδὲ τοῖς ἔθεσιν περιπατεῖν. 22 τί οὖν ἐστιν; πάντως ἀκούσονται ὅτι ἐλήλυθας. 23 τοῦτο οὖν ποίησον ὅ σοι λέγομεν• εἰσὶν ἡμῖν ἄνδρες τέσσαρες εὐχὴν ἔχοντες ἐφʼ ἑαυτῶν. 24 τούτους παραλαβὼν ἁγνίσθητι σὺν αὐτοῖς καὶ δαπάνησον ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς ἵνα ξυρήσονται τὴν κεφαλήν, καὶ γνώσονται πάντες ὅτι ὧν κατήχηνται περὶ σοῦ οὐδέν ἐστιν ἀλλὰ στοιχεῖς καὶ αὐτὸς φυλάσσων τὸν νόμον. 25 περὶ δὲ τῶν πεπιστευκότων ἐθνῶν ἡμεῖς ἐπεστείλαμεν κρίναντες φυλάσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς τό τε εἰδωλόθυτον καὶ αἷμα καὶ πνικτὸν καὶ πορνείαν. 26 Τότε ὁ Παῦλος παραλαβὼν τοὺς ἄνδρας τῇ ἐχομένῃ ἡμέρᾳ σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁγνισθείς, εἰσῄει εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν διαγγέλλων τὴν ἐκπλήρωσιν τῶν ἡμερῶν τοῦ ἁγνισμοῦ ἕως οὗ προσηνέχθη ὑπὲρ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου αὐτῶν ἡ προσφορά.
Paul goes to Jerusalem, fully aware of what awaits him What is 'true freedom'? [toddler vs concert pianist sitting at a piano] See how Paul shows it here: freedom to choose the path of great suffering. And then, freedom to observe the law for the sake of Jewish Christians. Both are instances of 'death to self', from the life he has in Jesus. Christians know the freedom of having died in Christ, and being alive in him. 1-6 Along the way, Paul is warned about what is to come [need a MAP] Cos. Hippocrates. Syria and Phoenicia prob had Christian communities there for 20 years by this point. Jesus resolved to go to Jerusalem, Paul resolved to go to Rome (and Jerusalem first). Why? He has died to himself, and uses his freedom of will to 'seek the Kingdom'. Christians can do this because they know Jesus holds their lives. 'Be still my soul, your Jesus can repay from his own fulness all he takes away.' -Are you avoiding hard things, or hard choices, that clearly would have a personal cost but would also clearly serve the Kingdom of Jesus? Do you know the freedom of death? 7-14 Paul is warned again, yet he is resolved to go to Jerusalem Philip, the 'evangelist', Acts 8 . One of the seven. He's obviously 'settled' to some degree, since we last met him. The Spirit's word is unmissable - he gives the same word through multiple people. Agabus doesn't tell him not to go, simply what awaits him there. cf Luke 18.32 . I., it's not that the Spirit contradicts himself to Acts 20.22 . He compelled Paul to God, and now along the way gives warning of what will happen. And out of pastoral concern the disciples urge him not to go. They are all interpreting the Spirit's words in different angles. Discernment: when should the hard path be chosen? cf When missionaries stay and suffer, and when they leave. Isn't the guiding principle, the Kingdom? -Are you avoiding hard things, or hard choices, that clearly would have a personal cost but would also clearly serve the Kingdom of Jesus? Do you know the freedom of death? E.g., friendships, mission, a clear Christian stance at work, a way of doing life as a family on mission -Could someone look at you and say, they are 'resolved'? Not that we should expect the same extraordinary ministry or clarity that Paul had. But the call from Jesus is actually identical, though it plays out differently for us; 'if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'. Not, invite Jesus into your life, but come and die. 15-26 in Jerusalem, Paul is ready to honour the sensitivities of Jewish Christians v20-24 indication of tension. Not the first time (cf Acts 6 ), nor the last in the church's history! Sensitivities. 'The issue here is not what Gentiles should do, since Acts 15 took care of how to treat Gentiles. The question is what Jews should do. In Jerusalem there is concern that respect should be shown for the law.' -Bock Paul clearly fine with vows already, cf Acts 18.18 What's the vow? A Nazirite one? Have all the men travelled through unclean Gentile areas? Or simply coming to the end of the 30-day Nazirite purity period? 'In sum, what we see here is Paul being asked to act with cultural sensitivity to the Jewish context he now finds himself in, without compromising the gospel. He is quite willing to do so for the sake of the unity it may create.' FF Bruce, 'A truly emancipated spirit like Paul's is not in bondage to its own emancipation' 'Paul sensed that James' request made sense, so he willingly restricted his freedom.' 5 trials coming up: the jewish crowd and then the jewish council, in Jerusalem; third and fourth before Felix and Festus in Caesarea, and fifthly before Herod Agrippa II in Caesarea. -nb even though he knows it won't stop what the sufferings to come; he does it since it's the right thing, not pragmatism 'Moses' is a friend to the Christian, not an enemy! Sometimes the way you hear people talking about the law is as if they're trying to work out the minimum possible requirement - a total misunderstanding of the nature of being free in Jesus. The law is a friend, not an enemy. Two kinds of bondage: that of legalism, and that of antinomianism. [example: jazz in the original sense, versus a bondage to doing something new or something that is deliberately not like other music; it's another form of bondage. Or, 'foodies' - claim to like food but if that means you can't enjoy a burger, you aren't really free to enjoy food] Do you know true freedom? The proof is in how you submit. Submit to suffering, submit to obedience, submit to others in love. The truly free person can do all those things, no worries, without it shattering their identity. Paul as a servant/slave of the gospel, doing whatever it requires. Travels willingly to Jerusalem. Willingly submits to honour Jewish Christians. True freedom is the freedom to submit in love! Our modern counterfeit is to reduce things into categories we simply don't talk about, rather than bearing and submitting in love. There's clearly the bondage of legalism, but also the bondage of antinomianism, where I actually can't do anything that would limit my freedom! [cf modern church planting and missional people] Jesus: goes with weeping into Jerusalem. Resolute to drink the cup. He doesn't call us to anything he has not himself walked before. Jesus in true freedom lays down his own life. In his death he achieves true freedom for his people, since he puts the old nature to death and gives us newness of life so that we walk in the power of the Spirit. This is how we should understand and delight in God's law. We don't become Jewish, but we become free, and that means free to willingly, joyfully, obey God's law. And we are called to the same thing; die to self and follow Jesus. The freedom of death.