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Paul Arrives in Jerusalem Faces Severe Conflict Pt. 2: Acts 21:17-26

March 17, 2024 Speaker: Bob DeWaay Series: Acts of the Apostles

Scripture: Acts 21:17-26

As the conflict in Jerusalem presses upon the church, James and the elders proposed that Paul follow a ritual of purification which some others in their assembly were prepared to follow to prove that the charges that Paul was telling Jewish Christians to forsake Moses were false.

We had a significant discussion about why Paul would follow such advice. I suggested that James had played a key role in resolving the conflict about whether Gentile believers would be required to obey Jewish food laws with the compromise mentioned in Acts 15 as well as here.

James was the half-brother of Jesus and highly respected in the Jerusalem church. Paul decided to take the recommended course of action. This did not imply that believing Jews were obligated to follow temple rituals, but that Paul willingly did so in this case to disprove the charges leveled against him.

We cite various Scriptures in Luke/Acts which pertain to the progress of the gospel. Paul was firmly against having two, separate churches, one which kept the law and was Jewish and the other Gentile.

We cite passages such as Ephesians 2:15 and reference the conflict described in the Book of Galatians. It will turn out that Paul’s action did not stave off conflict but aroused an uproar (which we mention but did not study in this session).

The bigger picture was that Paul was to be brought before Jewish and Roman authorities where he witnessed for Christ. He ended up in Rome as the Lord promised. We discuss how Christians today must deal with different ideas which can cause division and conflict. We must allow for differences in matters that are not binding.