A sail to Syria
Paul and his companions found a ship and sailed by Cypress landing at Tyre to unload its cargo. Here they found disciples whom they stayed with for 7 days. This must have been a special time of fellowship and a joy to meet with new believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. No doubt they would have much to chat about telling what things God was doing in all of their lives.
We have the same opportunities and there is nothing better than sharing and speaking about the things of the Lord! This short visit made a tremendous impact upon those dear folks! The men with their women and children accompanied Paul to the ship.
This was another parting which was met with a measure of sadness. In his usual manner with the others he knelt down on the shore and prayed with them.
A visit with Philip the evangelist
When they had completed their Journey they came to Ptolemais and met the brethren, staying with them for one day. On the next day, Paul’s companions entered into the house of Philip the evangelist. They stayed many days and the prophet Agabus came from Judea and visited with them. He then took Paul’s belt and bound it around his own hands and feet proclaiming the Holy Spirit said, whoever owns this belt will by the Jews be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles.
This resulted in the believers and his friends urging him not go up to Jerusalem knowing what would happen to him there. However, Paul was strong and said, “What Do you mean weeping and Breaking My Heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” He was fully persuaded and said, “the will of the Lord be done”, Acts 21:13.
This is a challenge for us today to seek and emulate the courage and conviction to put the Lord first before our own personal interests and safety! It must have been a very special time as Philip and Paul rehearsed all that the Lord had done in and through them in the spread of the gospel.
His arrival at Jerusalem
It is important to notice the wonderful welcome Paul and his team received from the Believers at Jerusalem. The next day they met with James and all the elders of the assembly. It is here “He told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his Ministry”, Acts 21:19.
However, the old problem arose from before with the Jewish believers who still regarded the importance of keeping the law of Moses. The elders were concerned when the Church knows they had arrived they would bring up the matter. They thought Paul was teaching the Jews saved on Gentile territory to forsake the Law of Moses and their children should not be circumcised.
What follows is very interesting and controversial because some of the believers thought Paul was wrong in submitting to their request. This was so that the Jewish assembly would see that Paul did not preach the things he was accused of but as a Jew he still kept his life orderly and kept the law of Moses.
The elders also reminded Paul that the Gentile believers should not seek to keep the Jewish traditions because they were now saved. What valuable lessons are for us in countries which are multicultural. We should not expect when they get saved that they abandon their cultural identity. We must remember the various cultures and diversity among them are ordained of God!
Let’s respect them for who they are and not try to make them fit into our own cultural ways and traditions. There is something special when you visit an assembly and see the believers dressed in their own cultural styles and attire.
His arrest and imprisonment
While the problem on the inside could be resolved, the situation on the outside became worse because the Jews in the Temple stirred up the people again against the Apostle Paul. So great was the disturbance that the people dragged Paul out of the Temple and planned to kill him.
News came to the commander of the Roman garrison and he sent soldiers in to rescue Paul. This was no easy task as they carried Paul through the violent crowd chanting, “away with him”, Acts 21:36. His mind must have gone back to when he was in the crowd seeking the death of Stephen. Paul requested permission to speak to the people and the crowd became silent.