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what is truth? acts 24

18 Jun

questions, questions from Acts 24: what is the truth?

2 ‘We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight ….’ and ‘8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him. ‘

There is so much in the beginning of Acts 24:

• The High Priest and the some of the elders travel to Caesarea to present charges against Paul to the governor Felix

• They do not bring any of the 40 Jews who were praying and fasting to Paul’s murder

• A lawyer comes with them, Tertullus, who presents a succinct case, a literal brief, against Paul. He is undoubtedly a connected lawyer, a possible ‘politician’

• The footnote to verse 7 below reads, Footnote- Acts 24:7 Some manuscripts include here him, and we would have judged him in accordance with our law. 7 But the commander Lysias came and took him from us with much violence, 8 ordering his accusers to come before you.

This footnote reveals an apology for their presence and the mixture of their laws with the Roman law. The implication is ‘Lydian should have left him to us; our governing; our laws; our justice’

Here is the description of their appearance and their two charges before Felix.

Acts 24

‘ Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. [7] 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

But the key, essential question is, what is truth?

Acts 23, ‘So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night …’

17 Jun

Everyone wants to dump Paul out of their lives. ( Everyone, but his disciples. ) everyone in this section of Acts is carrying out orders:

• The soldiers are delivering Paul to another judge. following orders.

• The Jews believe they are following the laws of the Sanhedrin in their pursuit of Paul to his death.

• The Roman Centurion believes he is following the law protecting Roman citizens.

• The Sanhedrin are following the traditions, laws and orders of their religious beliefs and understandings.

• Felix, the Caesarea governor, will follow the submitted Roman letter and hear Paul’s case.

• and Paul…

Well, let us sit with the text…, and with Paul on a horse from transferred from Jerusalem to …,

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

23 ‘Then he ( the commander ) called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

25 He wrote a letter as follows:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency, Governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.’

On a horse leaving Jerusalem, Paul had to thinking of his trip, as Saul, to Damascus. Forced off his horse, blinded, Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1)and probably named after the first king of Israel, Saul hears Jesus speaking to him. He follows Jesus voice, his direction to Ananias’ house. There Saul sees. And he sees Jesus through the words, steps, and hands of Ananias.

Paul is now on another trip. He is following his heart and his Lord’s heart, to Tome where he will testify to the facts of his life with Jesus.

Everyone follows orders at one time or another. The key for an intimate rich and deep life is to follow a pure heart, a heart spoken to by and with grace by the lord.

After such a speaking, no orders are needed, only a heart.

a letter to my daughter, to deirdra

16 Jun

deirdra’s birth, 16 June 1987

Before I met your mother, the first book of God’s word I studied was Hosea. It was a poor choice made by an even poorer man, a pastor, who wanted me to see myself as as a Hosea, as a betrayed husband. Hosea is so much more than his relationship with Gomer. Yes, Hosea is a very poor start for new Christian. Especially one betrayed.

Yet, out of that poor choice, came riches. The prophet Hosea, out of his abyss, his emptiness, has God pouring his words, his beautifully poetic words and images. As,

‘Sow for yourselves righteousness,

reap the fruit of unfailing love,

and break up your unplowed ground;

for it is time to seek the Lord,

until he comes

and showers righteousness on you’

Hosea 10: 12

These images later connected to other verses, especially verses your mother and I prayed over for ourselves, for our new life together, as man and wife.

For our wedding Priscilla and I used the entirety of Psalm 126. But verses 4 & 5 for me fall together with Hosea 10,

‘Restore our fortunes, O Lord,

like streams in the Negev.

Those who sow in tears

will reap with songs of joy’

Sowing is the opening metaphor here. In order to reap, one must sow; then break the hard, unyielding grounds at our feet. And plant, and plant with the waters of sweats and tears. No soil can resist such waters. Not even deserts. And we planted for joyful songs.

The Negev is a desert, Tim Keller once taught at an Elders’ retreat on Psalm 126 pointing out that in this Negev desert there would in season be a flood of rain waters, rivers of waters enriching the parched sands of desert life. His point was, is, that there are streams, endless streams of joys in our life with Jesus. And we are to sing of them to ourselves, and to others. And then perhaps we can have a hand in joy’s creation.

Both Hosea 10:12 and Psalm 126 passages open with a sowing metaphor, then follows a reaping, a working image that yield in overflowing, unfailing love, joy.

You dear, you are result of such overflowing love, a restoration of hope.

Conceived in Pittsford Vermont, in the cool of a late summer day. Almost as soon as we returned to our NYC home, your mother became very unwell.

The doctors all agreed: Priscilla, your mom, was on the verge of a serious stroke. She needed bed rest. All day -or she would stroke out; lose her baby; and I could lose her. And you.

No reaping; sowing without birth. And the land stays an eternal desert. Abyss.

I had a job teaching at St Raymond’s and your Mom, who had lead a St Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic mid week worship service, obtained day visiting nurse services for your sisters, four year old Elisabeth and two year old Sarah.

Each afternoon and night I came home and cooked and cleaned in our University Avenue home. Each day I stopped your mother from rising. Each day I touched Priscilla’s belly and prayed over you. Each day.

And you came beautifully in a planned C section mid June. You were the ‘son’ all the sonograms said you were; ‘the ‘quarterback shoulders’ whom our doctor -in a great surprise- told us was a ‘girl.’

Should we tie Priscilla’s tubes?

Yes.

And we had a dear, a Deirdra I named with Joy.

The next week I drove back for studies at the Bread Loaf School of English, by Pittsford Vermont. I was alone.

Your Mom drove up with Paul Swift six days later. Your first day out was a steak outdoor barbecue at the Robert Frost Cabin, Ripton Vermont. You heard poetry and laughter; felt sun and hands.

Everyone said ‘ooh and ahh.’ and…

what a beautiful baby’ how old? – a week?-

She is the youngest baby we have ever had at Breadloaf.

The Davis’ home in Pittsford VT had a lush green backyard. Priscilla would cut across our backyard through the town cemetery to the town man made pond. Small, with an adjoining ball field, surrounded by verdant green hills of multi greens, it was a perfect place to summer. Green Elysian Fields.

You were dedicated in the congregational church there to Our Lord. My father had lent me his dark green Dodge Polara, so we would have a big safe car to drive you around in. Your Irish grandparents had blessed us and visited us in those summers. You were loved. Well traveled and loved.

Deirdra is the only Osewalt daughter who did not have to go into intensive care after birth. She was a difficult, a different birth.

You were, you are, a perfect joy.

Sown in tears. Reaped with songs, joys, songs of joys.

We love you so dear.

Happy birthday

righteous, Acts 23, ‘ …more than forty of them…’

15 Jun

‘…more than forty of them…’ describes the Jews plot to kill Paul. While they are plotting, God is near, speaking, confirming Paul,

‘The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

12 ‘The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. ‘

How do I, do you, have we live at night?

How did Paul, after being beaten and the arrested, sleep…live by night?

He didn’t.

In jail Paul is visited by the Lord. Here Paul is comforted by God with the Lord confirming the steps, the path, Paul has chosen to journey. God stands near and speaks:- you have testified about me in Jerusalem and so will you do do in Rome.

Paul at night lives in, with, this meditation, this in conversation with God. He is near God.

The Jews of the Sanhedrin, on the other hand, are up this night. What is their meditations, their plans?

They plan death. Paul’s death. And they will totally fast till Paul passes. Luke describes their plans,

13 ‘More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”’

Consumed at night by hate, they desire not just Paul’s death, but by their prayer and fasting the Lord’s approval of their plans. They believe that by fasting the Lord will be in, be near and part of their and agreement to their plot. They desire righteousness.

But they deceive themselves.

In the dark night they see not God, Jesus or even Paul. Perhaps they see themselves as the ‘righteous’ in Psalm 58,

Psalm 58:10-

‘The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.’

These ‘righteous’ Jews 40 want Paul dead. They desire to cleanse by bathing in his blood. No one who is righteous delights in another’s blood letting.

The righteous can not be made glad by another’s blood. Those near to God abhor the shedding of blood, the plotting of death and vengeance. No one. The Psalmist mis-steps in his description here. But John, in Revelation 13:12 describes true overcoming as,

11 ‘…they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.’

Paul is saved by the blood of Jesus and paul’s own testimony. This is why Paul travels to Jerusalem and Rome. To testify.

At night, during the days, pray, testify in prayer 🙏🏿. Testify to His saving blood.

Nothing but His, nothing but the testifying blood of Jesus makes righteousness.

No longer a ‘what if’ Pharisee

11 Jun

‘what if, …’ Acts 23

Pharisees day that it is possible that there are angels and a spirit. But not Paul. He is no longer a Pharisee. He knows His Lord Hod is near and real. Paul hears him.

Paul is, can be, many things, but one thing he is not: Paul is Not a ‘what if’ person. Specific and definitive; decisive, strategic and knowledgable, Paul does not live in a counter/factual, a ‘what if’ world. Paul talks, acts and looks straight. A straight shooter- ,

Acts 23 ‘Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”

5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.”

6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”’

The Pharisees are led by Paul’s statements to a counter factual, a ‘what if’ world. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” (9)

Existing there, the Pharisees and Sadducees fight so over Paul, he is removed from there presences, but not from God’s.

For that night the Lord stands near to Paul.

When we move in heart and mind directly towards God, we find that He stands near, stands for us. And He speaks words, confirming and comforting, about our choices.

He is so near He can whisper and we hear him as clearly as a truly felt emotion.

He loves us, and there are no ‘what ifs’ about His love.

Stretching, Acts 22

10 Jun

Acts 22, stretched

25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

Paul has been shaved and purified, cleaned; he has prayed and shared with the apostles; he has been shut out of the temple and beaten. After speaking to the crowd, Paul is stretched out and about to be flogged and at this moment, he asks a question, an essential question, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

He doesn’t cry and plead out for mercy; Paul does not state the coming error in Roman law by the soldiers.

Paul asks a question, a question to make the authorities question and think themselves.

Accused of breaking the Jewish law by the crowd and sentenced to death, Paul appeals to Roman law as and is served and saved.

When stretched out, Paul questions and lives.

from Acts 22

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send

you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

Paul the Roman Citizen

22 “The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.”

Paul is stretched and then, through questioning, released. As we move into difficult waters, our Lord wants us to question ourselves and others questions stretch.

Unspoken questions; thoughtless beliefs and actions, keep us in chains. Question.

Question.

from the Lord’s words, key words Paul remembers,

9 Jun

Acts 22; ‘quick

…And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’

19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

Impulsive, instinctive as I live, have lived, as I am. As I am today. For better or worst, I have always made decisions, major ones, life changing moments, quickly. And then I lived with them, their consequences and after effects, slowly, for many, many years. Many many moments, memories.

Some say, I was, am ‘mercurial’. Perhaps I am and that is why I love this passage from Acts so. Paul’s exact memory of the Lord’s instructional words to him after the Damascus road are mine,

‘get up’, verse 16

‘Quick’….leave’, verse 18 -and…

‘Go’, verse 21

Paul listens to his heart because that is where he hears the Lord. His heart speaks to his mind. Transformed he listens differently than others; Paul hears the voices of others, but he hears and listens deeply to the ‘quick’ voice of Jesus.

Today, I still listen like a Paul. I hear Jesus. Both quickly and then reflectively.

I am with Paul in Jerusalem. Tomorrow, we will speak and hear again.

words, words, Paul’s words Acts 22

8 Jun

words – especially the end ones, goodbye ones, final ones, silent and unspoken words, can – they will – affect people drive. Paul’s words here drive a crowd crazy. Why?

More on why, Tuesday, but for today, your question, my question, our question todsy

what words drive you crazy?’ Who speaks them?

Why are you affected so?

So, at the end of Acts 21 Paul is attacked by a mob and rescued/arrested by Roman soldiers. He then speaks to the attacking crowd, at first, with the intention of calming all,

Acts 22

1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”

2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’

8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’

19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr[a] Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the gentiles’”

These words send the crowd again into an uproar. Why? Why do these words affect these people so?

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.

Jerusalem’s plan, Acts 21

5 Jun

21:- the Jerusalem plan…

James, the apostles and the elders of Jerusalem believe they need a plan. Paul, he who

‘ teach(es) all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise …’ (21) Paul, having arrived, will upset their society so…. a plan…

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.”

Paul speaks to the assembly and listens 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, more thoughts ( my response ) on this tomorrow. ( Saturday 6 June ). But, we have to ask this question: why listen to one but not the other? Why?