Acts 21:15 – 40

November 3, 2021

14 Since we could not get Paul to change his mind, we gave up and prayed, “Lord, please make us willing to do what you want.”

15 Then we got ready to go to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the followers from Caesarea went with us and took us to stay in the home of Mnason. He was from Cyprus and had been a follower from the beginning.

17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the Lord’s followers gladly welcomed us. 18 Paul went with us to see James the next day, and all the church leaders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and told how God had used him to help the Gentiles. 20 Everyone who heard this praised God and said to Paul:

My friend, you can see how many tens of thousands of the Jewish people have become followers! And all of them are eager to obey the Law of Moses. 21 But they have been told that you are teaching those who live among the Gentiles to disobey this Law. They claim that you are telling them not to circumcise their sons or to follow Jewish customs.

22 What should we do now that our people have heard that you are here? 23 Please do what we ask, because four of our men have made special promises to God. 24 Join with them and prepare yourself for the ceremony that goes with the promises. Pay the cost for their heads to be shaved. Then everyone will learn that the reports about you are not true. They will know that you do obey the Law of Moses.

25 Some while ago we told the Gentile followers what we think they should do. We instructed them not to eat anything offered to idols. They were told not to eat any meat with blood still in it or the meat of an animal that has been strangled. They were also told not to commit any terrible sexual sins.

26 The next day Paul took the four men with him and got himself ready at the same time they did. Then he went into the temple and told when the final ceremony would take place and when an offering would be made for each of them.

27 When the period of seven days for the ceremony was almost over, some of the Jewish people from Asia saw Paul in the temple. They got a large crowd together and started attacking him. 28 They were shouting, “Friends, help us! This man goes around everywhere, saying bad things about our nation and about the Law of Moses and about this temple. He has even brought shame to this holy temple by bringing in Gentiles.” 29 Some of them thought that Paul had brought Trophimus from Ephesus into the temple, because they had seen them together in the city.

30 The whole city was in an uproar, and the people turned into a mob. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Then suddenly the doors were shut. 31 The people were about to kill Paul when the Roman army commander heard that all Jerusalem was starting to riot. 32 So he quickly took some soldiers and officers and ran to where the crowd had gathered.

As soon as the mob saw the commander and soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 The army commander went over and arrested him and had him bound with two chains. Then he tried to find out who Paul was and what he had done. 34 Part of the crowd shouted one thing, and part of them shouted something else. But they were making so much noise that the commander could not find out a thing. Then he ordered Paul to be taken into the fortress. 35 As they reached the steps, the crowd became so wild that the soldiers had to lift Paul up and carry him. 36 The crowd followed and kept shouting, “Kill him! Kill him!”

37 When Paul was about to be taken into the fortress, he asked the commander, “Can I say something to you?”

“How do you know Greek?” the commander asked. 38 “Aren’t you that Egyptian who started a riot not long ago and led four thousand terrorists into the desert?”

39 “No!” Paul replied. “I am a Jew from Tarsus, an important city in Cilicia. Please let me speak to the crowd.”

40 The commander told him he could speak, so Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people. When they were quiet, he spoke to them in Aramaic: