Today we are in the 21st chapter of Acts. We see Paul on his way to Jerusalem. He made several stops on his way to visit churches and bodies of believers. When they left Tyre, all the disciples, their wives, and children accompanied them out of the city and then knelt on the shore together for prayer before they boarded the ship. What a wonderful, blessed way to send Paul off!
It must have been exciting for Paul and his companions to find Christians in virtually every city where they stopped. Christians seemed to be everywhere! How exciting to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ was spreading like that. It made me stop and think about us as we travel. Do we seek out other believers to rejoice and encourage one another wherever we go? Have you ever gone out of town and visited another congregation and worshipped with them and rejoiced that we are all children of God?
Paul then visited Philip, the evangelist. What a great title: Philip the Evangelist. He was known by the good news he presented to others; the good news about who Jesus is and what He did for us. Just for a moment, stop and think. Who am I? What am I known for? How do I use my gifts? What is my name?
Paul was prophesied over several times about his journey to Jerusalem. It was not a positive and pleasant prophesy but one that stated he would be bound and handed over to the Gentiles. He was being told that he would face suffering and prison. Paul indicated that he was ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. The warnings were to prepare Paul for what was ahead and even though that was not what his companions and the church desired, they came to recognize Paul’s insistence to go as the will of the Lord. When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, he reported the good work of God among the Gentiles and the elders glorified God.
The Elders of the church told him that even though there were many, many Jews who believed in Jesus, they were still very zealous for the law. They had been lied to and told that Paul was teaching all the Jews who were among the Gentiles to completely forsake Moses and the law. They recommended that Paul go to the temple with four men who had taken a vow and pay for their expenses in completing their vow so that he could show that he had never taught Christian Jews to forsake Moses and Jewish customs. This had nothing to do with the Gentiles.
When Paul went to the temple a mob was stirred up against him and a rumor was passed around and Paul was attacked and beaten. Verse 31 says they were seeking to kill him. Paul had been near death before because of the attack of mobs and probably thought, "well here we go again." Paul was rescued by the Roman commander and his soldiers.
Paul asked for and received permission from the commander to speak to the mob who had just attacked and tried to kill him. Even after being beaten and when his life was in danger…Paul had one thing on his mind: “let me preach the gospel of Jesus Christ!" What an example to each of us to remember that no matter our situation we can share to good news of our Savior.