Understanding Acts | Welcome | Acts 21.17-19 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | May 2, 2023

“When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.” Acts 21.17-19

Three important aspects stand out about Paul’s arrival at Jerusalem. First, he received a warm welcome. Second, one of Jesus’ first disciples was present with some elders of the church. Thirdly, Paul reports what God has been doing through his ministry to the Gentiles.

This is a short but welcome respite for Paul on his world wide missionary tour to evangelize the world. He finally has the opportunity to return home to friends, brothers and sisters, who welcome him in the faith. They are truly glad to see him. He has been one of the top leaders in the faith. From persecuting the early Christian Church, to becoming it’s most outspoken and successful spokesperson, Paul is now returning to a Church body who receives him warmly.

And to give this group credibility, James of all people was present. James, one of Jesus’ inner three, is welcoming Paul and helping lead the church. He’s been faithful for all these years, even after the resurrection and ascension— James, an Apostle, is shepherding others along the way.

Yet Paul doesn’t simply return for a potluck and a good ole church reunion, he reports his work among the Gentles, all across the Ancient Near East, far beyond Judea, into cities and cultures distant to this small band in Jerusalem. His work among them is the work of the church —- first, evangelizing the lost, building up the believers, making known the name of Christ.

This brief time for Paul is one of settling in. We know it doesn’t last long because Paul has many Jewish opponents in Jerusalem. They are fighting to keep everything they have. As soon as they are aware of his presence they will not stop in preventing him from preaching what they see as false teaching against the Law of Moses.

Paul, a faithful witness of the Gospel, returns to Jerusalem at the risk of his own life and for the sake of the Cross. He is welcomed by friends but pursued by opponents, yet he does not stop in finishing the race and proclaiming Christ as Messiah.

Are we faithful like Paul? Regardless of the pressures from those around us who do not agree with our stance on faith and Jesus, are we pressing on and moving forward? Are we steadfast even in the midst of the storm? How can we learn from the life of Paul who remained true to the mission of promoting Jesus no matter what?

“O Lord God, come now and find me willing. Put your hand of protection upon me and my family, upon your cause and your church. Help me find my bearings in you. Keep me focused on the task at hand of making disciples of all nations. I praise you Lord for your goodness. For the life you lived Lord Jesus, and for your servants of old. Rekindle within us a willingness to remain faithful. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen