person standing in field with Bible

Acts 21:1-36: What Do You Represent?


In this blog post, I am going to discuss the majority of chapter 21 in the Book of Acts. As always, I encourage you to take the time to read this chapter in its entirety. In the first six verses of chapter 21, we see that Paul and his travel companions go to the following areas on their way to Jerusalem: Cos, Rhoades, Patara, Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Syria. They finally end up in Tyre. During Paul’s travel, he always sought out other believers. It is important that we find likeminded people to be around.

Insight from Holy Spirit

The believers in Trye determined by the Holy Spirit to tell Paul not to go to Jerusalem. They knew in their spirit that afflictions awaited Paul in Jerusalem. Acts 21:4 (ESV) tells us, “And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit, they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.”. The Message version translates this portion as “Their message to Paul, from insight given by the Spirit, was “Don’t go to Jerusalem.”. It is so important that we rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will give us insight regarding someone else. Maybe you feel the urge to call and/or pray for a person. When you feel this, seek God on how to follow through and be obedient.

Biblically Correct-Reverance

Paul knew that afflictions would await him when he traveled. I believe this is another reason as to why he sought out believers as he traveled. Acts 20:23 (ESV) tells us, “Except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.”. Paul was clearly aware of this in chapter 21, and his fellow believers in Tyre confirmed this. At the end of his stay at Tyre we see in verses 5-6 (ESV), “When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.”. I would really like to draw your attention to where it says, ‘And kneeling down’. How often do you see that in the Protestant churches today? Look at Acts 20:36 (ESV), “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.”. Did he form a prayer line with a catcher standing behind a person? No, not once do you see that in Scripture. Paul set an example; he gave reverence to the Lord. We need to learn to bring reverence back to the churches! When was the last time you were in church and knelt together as a body to pray for one another? It rarely happens much anymore. I am not trying to condemn any practices in the different church circles, I am just saying we really need to consider how Biblically correct we are. Jesus Christ is coming back for a pure bride, and part of being a pure bride involves reverence. Hebrews 12:28 (ESV) tells us, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”. I could write a novel or two on how the church has lost reverence for the Lord, but I will save that for another time.

Paul in Caesarea

In verses seven thru sixteen, we see that they travel from Tyre to Ptolemais, which is a 20-mile journey. They then travel 40 miles to Caesarea, likely by ship. When Paul and his travel companions arrive at Caesarea they stay at the house of Philip, the evangelist. One fact about Philip is found that he is one of the seven from Acts 6:1-5. Additionally, we see that he had daughters who had the gift of prophecy. Then we see a Prophet by the name of Agabus come along who prophecies how Paul will be treated symbolically in Acts 21:11 (ESV), “And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’””. Agabus is introduced to us in Acts 11:28 (ESV), which says, “And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).”.

Trust in God’s Sovereignty

Regardless of what others tell Paul, he still intends to go to Jerusalem. Paul responds in Acts 21:13-14 (ESV), “Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping, and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.””. Paul fully trusted in God as he would face persecution for the sake of Jesus Christ. Paul trusted in God’s sovereign will 100-percent. How many of us today truly trust in God’s sovereign will for our lives? Psalm 115:3 (ESV) says, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”. We must fully trust in God’s sovereign will for our lives, too many people want to win favor with God to accomplish their own personal gain. We must have our mindset focused on God’s Will alone.

As we read on in Acts 21, we see Paul and his companions travel from Caesarea to Jerusalem, which is about a 65-mile journey. They stay at Mnasons home, likely about halfway through the journey.

Finally in Jerusalem

In verses 17-26 we see they finally reach Jerusalem and were gladly received by the brethren. Paul goes along with James and the elders and tells them all what God has done through his ministry thus far. As Paul talks to them, we see they are concerned as to how the people will respond to Paul since they know his stance on circumcision (referring to the law). So, they have Paul join a group of men who took a vow for purification, and he goes with them to the temple to complete the sacrifices the next day.

Paul is Attacked

In verses 27-36, we see that near the end of the purification days, some Jews from Ephesus who knew of Paul decided to yell in the Temple about Paul’s teachings regarding circumcision. These Jews cause a large commotion in the Temple and drag Paul out of the Temple and lock him out. We see that the people were trying to kill Paul, and this rapidly turned into a riot. The guards captain heard about this and went to the scene with some soldiers, and the people immediately backed off Paul. They wanted Paul to be chained but the captain could not get enough information on what the reason was, because of all the commotion. Paul is then carried by the soldiers to the barracks. In my next blog post, we will look at what takes place at the barracks.

Final Thoughts

I would really like to challenge you to examine yourself on how much reverence you give to God. Not only in church, but in your personal life. Do you tell unclean jokes, have vulgar language, addicted to something, or have anything in your life that goes against the Word of God? We must examine ourselves daily because we as Christians represent God. If we really appreciate the atonement for salvation on the Cross, then we should have a burning desire to lead a life that represents God with total reverence. How we live our lives as Christians is a testimony unto others. What kind of testimony are you giving?