by a shut gate, Paul in Jerusalem Acts 21

6 Jun

at the end of yesterday’s blog I left you readers with an essential question after reading the beginning of Acts 21, where Paul speaks to the Jerusalem assembly and then listens to them and follows their plan:

He hadn’t listen to his companions, the Ephesian Elders and prophets or to Luke. But he listens to the Jerusalem elders?

Why?

Dearest readers, we have to ask this question: why listen to one but not the other? Why?

Actually, I believe that our Paul, our Saul, is listening to neither the Jerusalem group or the Ephesian group. I believe, deeply believe that our Paul, our Saul, is listening to both the Jerusalem group or the Ephesian group.

But in the end, in his final moment’s, the deciding moments, paul listens and acts as he feels in his ‘nous’- in his heart and his mind. He listens to nous

Paul writes about nous in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This is the only world, the only word, Paul is listening to: his transformed mind, his nous- his heart and mind.

This is how Paul listens; how he tests and walks; hears and acts. Paul is following, going toward His God. Nothing else, no other voices or purification rules matters. Transformed, Paul hears differently.

So, at –

Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem

“17 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.

20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.”

And, readers, the consequences of following his hear and mind? Acts 21 continues,

27”When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28 shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.)

30 The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.”

Transformed, it is no matter even if gates along my journey shut immediately, even if I am doubted, rejected; dismissed and unloved outside gates, He is still in and with my heart, my mind.

I listen and hear transformed. Hearing Him, His word, transforms.

Hear Him today. Be as Paul. Listen to all, but always hear Him. This is my prayer for myself, for you, our world: listen, hear- be constantly transformed.

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