Are You Willing to Follow Jesus In Spite of the Risks?
Paul and his traveling companions leave Ephesus in order to go to Jerusalem. Along the way, they stayed at the home of others who followed Jesus. Most if then wanted Paul not to go fearing he would be arrested or mistreated. Even the prophet Agabus who had accurately predicted the drought mentioned in Acts 11, now prophesied that Paul would be bound by the Jewish leaders and handed over to the Roman authorities.
Just as Jesus made his way to Jerusalem in spite of the danger, Paul had the same attitude. He was willing to die for his faith if necessary.
The leaders in Jerusalem celebrated with Paul as he shared the news of so many Gentiles coming to Christ.
At the same time, they wanted to dispel the rumors that Paul was trying to get Jews to stop living out their rituals and customs so for their sake he agreed to go through the purification rituals.
The early church was not trying to end Judaism. They saw following Jesus as the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. At the same time, they had already agreed not to force Gentiles to become Jewish before they could follow Jesus. Instead they wanted them to be able to follow Jesus while abstaining from sexual immorality, worshiping idols, and eating blood. This was a way to avoid offending Jewish believers and other potential Gentile converts.
Even still, the rumors persisted and an angry mob seized Paul. Some were trying to kill him so the Roman authorities came in to stop the rioting.
Paul considered this a great opportunity to tell the angry crowd about Jesus.
When reading this passage what stood out to you?
How do you sense God may want you to apply what you discovered?