Acts 21:17 through chapter 25

God’s Way

It was Paul’s plan to bring an offering from the churches in the areas where he had been ministering to the poor in Jerusalem. The believers in Jerusalem were suffering because many of them had sold their property and gave the money to the Church expecting the Lord Jesus to return soon. The believers in Jerusalem who had converted from Judaism were also being persecuted by the Jews from the Temple. We read in the book of Hebrews that their properties were being taken from them and their livelihood as well. Tradition tells us that Nicodemus, who was once a member of the Sanhedrin and considered one of the three richest men in Jerusalem, ended up in poverty and his daughter had to pick up grain that fell on the streets from the carts. As a result of the persecution the believers in the Church were trying to show that they were zealous for the Law and the leaders convinced Paul to do the same by making a vow and paying the expenses of four others who had also made a vow.

The plan almost worked until some Jews from Asia nearly caused a riot and Paul was taken into custody by the Roman guards. He will spend two years under arrest before he is sent to Rome.

Paul had planned to go to Rome. God also had a plan for Paul to go to Rome. God was preparing Paul for what was ahead. God’s ways are not our ways as Paul made clear in 1 Corinthians 1&2. Only God knows what is going to take place in the future. James tells us to, “Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2&3 NASB

God often uses trials to prepare us for what is ahead. During this long trial Paul will share the gospel with two governors of the area. He will also be a witness to a centurion and his soldiers. One day God knows Paul will stand before Emperor Nero and share the gospel. But God also has other plans for Paul. While in confinement Paul will be writing letters to various churches and leaders. We will be reading these letters shortly. Paul’s ministry continues today.

God’s ways are not our ways. In our reading today we find that both Felix and Festus as governors, wanted to do the Jews a favor so they could maintain their power. Felix was also looking for a bribe from Paul. Later King Agrippa and his wife came with great pomp to listen to Paul defend himself. This is man’s ways, the goal of which is to draw attention to themselves and show off their power. In this case it was an outer shell of pride. Paul, when he stood trial before Festus, appealed his case to Rome and so they had to send Paul to Rome. However, they really didn’t have any charges to send with Paul. Festus was hoping King Agrippa would find something to charge Paul with.

God’s way is to bring glory to Him and not ourselves. Often the trials we go through are meant to teach us to be humble before God. We are to rely on Him and not our cleverness, wisdom, or strength. James tells us to, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 NASB

Paul made his appeal to Rome and Festus agreed to send Him. God had prepared Paul for the trip but as we will read in the next study God is going to exalt the humbled Paul in ways we could not have imagined.

May God bless and Guide

Pastor Dave

Colossians 3:12-17