ACTS CHAPTER 21 – “EXPERIENCING THE SUFFERINGS OF JESUS ”
The apostle Paul told the Philippians he wanted to know Jesus Christ
of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). In this chapter
wept when he told them he would never see them again. He knew serious trouble
“and the power
we see Paul living this out. When he left the Ephesian elders in Chapter 20, they
lay ahead. When he was with the disciples in Tyre they warned him not to go to
Jerusalem (v. 4). And when he was in Caesarea, the prophet Agabus confirmed that
Paul would be bound and captured in Jerusalem (v. 11).
Yet Paul didn’t hide or run away. With tenacious determination he was bent on
reaching the city. He told his friends: “For I am ready not only to be bound, but even
to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 13). Like Jesus when He drank
the cup of suffering, Paul was resigned to God’s will even if it meant death. And sure
enough, when he arrived in the city, visiting Jews from Asia devised a plot to have
him arrested. They falsely accused him of taking Trophimus, his Ephesian disciple,
into areas of the temple that were off limits to Gentiles. When they shouted, “Away
with him!” (v. 36), that didn’t just mean take him away—they meant, “Kill him!”
Notice how many similarities there are between Jesus’ and Paul’s arrests. Like Jesus,
Paul said he was willing to die. Both Jesus and Paul faced an angry mob. Both Jesus
and Paul were beaten. Jesus was crucified between two thieves, and Paul was bound
with two chains (v. 33). The crowd that condemned Jesus also shouted, “Away with
him!” (John 19:15). We see in Paul a heart of sold-out devotion. Paul was willing to
carry the cross of Christ. His heart’s cry was, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Paul’s
gospel was not soft or risk-free. He knew that suffering is part of the Christian life.
He modeled courage for us all.
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
** When Paul and his team left the Ephesian leaders in verse 1, Luke says, “When we had parted...” This actually means, in the Greek, “When we tore away from them...” How do you explain the deep love the disciples had for each other?
** We learn in this chapter that Philip the evangelist has been living in Caesarea since he went there almost 25 years earlier (see 8:40). Why do you think Luke mentions in v. 9 his four daughters who were prophets?
** Gentiles were strictly forbidden from entering the Jewish temple. Signs were posted in Greek and Hebrew saying Gentiles caught in the areas around the sanctuary would be put to death. Paul did not take Trophimus in this area, but he was falsely accused of doing this. Paul’s “crime” was bringing a Gentile into God’s house. Why is this significant?
LET’S PRAY ABOUT IT:
Lord, I want to be willing to follow You anywhere, no matter the cost. I want to be a living sacrifice. Just as Jesus prayed “Not My will, but Yours be done,” I say, “Have Your way, Lord.” I surrender my will to You. I will not put conditions on my obedience. I know there are risks in serving God, but I will not let any risk stop me from following You fully. Amen.
By J. Lee Grady © 2020.