The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 20:26-38 མཛད་པ། 20:26-38

(མཛད་པ། 20:26-38)

Acts 20.26-38 w B

 

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:26-38)

 

In the second part of his speech Paul reminds the Ephesian elders in strong words how he spent 3 years tirelessly explaining the blessing of the gospel, and giving warning of the death-curse of rejecting what Jesus died to give them.

He goes on to say, ‘Now it is your duty. You must feed the church as guardians of the believers, like shepherds caring for sheep. Prepare them for future years when false teachers, like greedy wolves as it were, will seek to devour your flock.’

‘Remember my example’, he said, ‘I did not ask for money, but toiled for mine own living, rather than feed on you and live in comfort.’ 

It was an emotional farewell.

The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 21:1-16 མཛད་པ། 21:1-16

(མཛད་པ། 21:1-16)

Acts 21.1-16 w B

 

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. And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 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. 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. 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 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.

When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. 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. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 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[c] at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 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.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”

After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 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. (Acts 21:1-16)

 

Luke has given us a description of the sea journey that he made with Paul’s party, ending at Caesarea (see map). After that it was a further 64 km by land to reach Jerusalem.

Among various well-wishers with whom Paul stayed were people who, given foreknowledge by the Holy Spirit, warned him of future sufferings.

But Paul was willing to serve Jesus Christ through suffering in Jerusalem and beyond. In the rest of the book of Acts we will read of his future endurance of riot, imprisonment and shipwreck.

Paul 3rd Journey - 121 - 800px

The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 21:17-26 མཛད་པ། 21:17-26

(མཛད་པ། 21:17-26)

Acts 21.17-26 w B

 

When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they 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 zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, 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. But as for the Gentiles who have believed, 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, and from sexual immorality.” Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them. (Acts 21:17-26)

 

James the brother of Jesus is now leader of the church in Jerusalem. He and the church council gave Paul a warning.

The many devout Jews who have come to believe in salvation through Jesus will hear of Paul’s arrival. They have been told wrongly that Paul has taught new Jewish believers elsewhere to reject Jewish law and customs. So James advises Paul for his safety to show that he himself remains a good Jew; and to do so by assisting the 4 men to fulfill their vow.

As for non-Jewish believers, James said, ‘We have already told them how much of the old Jewish law we feel they need to keep.’

However James’s plan did not succeed. Next time we’ll read how Paul would be attacked by a mob.