the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Strive together with me in your prayers.”
What plans of usefulness were in Paul’s mind at this time, and what he did after the uproar at Ephesus, we gather from Romans 15:18-33.
Romans 15:20 , Romans 15:21
His was an aggressive policy, he pushed into the enemy’s territory, as all God’s servants should endeavour to do, for multitudes are still ignorant of the name of Jesus.
Little did he know in what manner he would enter Rome. He thought to journey thither at his own cost as a free man, but the Lord had other plans for him: he would enter Rome, but only as a prisoner.
Romans 15:25 , Romans 15:26
It seems that his business at Jerusalem was, for a second time, to carry help to the needy brethren. Such generous tokens of love from the new converts would greatly tend to break down the prejudice against the Gentiles, which still lingered in the Jewish capital.
We are all debtors to believing Jews, and ought to be always doubly ready to relieve their necessities. To despise or think harshly of a Jew is very unbecoming in those who adore “The King of the Jews.”
Romans 15:28 , Romans 15:29
And in this he was not disappointed. His minor expectations failed, but the major were fulfilled; so shall it be in our own cases as we journey through life. Our. essential interests will be safe, though in many a matter of less moment we shall experience failure.
Even an apostle craved the supplications of saints, and that, too, about temporal matters. Never can we attach loo much importance to prayer. Everything should be gone about in the spirit of prayer, if we desire it to prosper. Yet how strangely is prayer answered; for Paul went to Rome, but it was as an ambassador in bonds. His wish was granted, but not in such a manner as he would have preferred.
Sweet benediction. Lord, fulfil it to us at this hour.
Now may the God of peace and love,
Who from th’ imprisoning grave
Restored the Shepherd of the sheep,
Omnipotent to save;
Through the rich merits of that blood
Which he on Calvary spilt,
To make the eternal covenant sure
On which our hopes are built;
Perfect our souls in every grace,
To accomplish all his will,
And all that’s pleasing in his sight
Inspire us to fulfil!
“Follow after the things which make for peace.”
Acts 21:17-24 , Acts 21:26-28 , Acts 21:30-36
Luke describes Paul’s interview with the brethren at Jerusalem as follows: Acts 21:17-24, Acts 21:26-28, Acts 21:30-36.
He did not ascribe anything to himself, but modestly and truthfully spoke of what the Lord had wrought through him.
Even the Jewish Christians were prejudiced against Paul, how much more would the unbelieving Jews be irritated at his presence! The elders, therefore, proposed that he should show himself to be friendly to the law of Moses by joining in one of those actions which were hardly ever performed except by the zealous.
Acts 21:23-24 , Acts 21:26
It is an open question whether he was justified in this course of action. He was certainly carrying the principle of being all things to all men quite as far as it could be defended. He must have felt that legal purifications were out of date, and he could only have consented to practise them in order to please the Jewish brethren. We ought to admire his desire for peace; yet we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that peace was not the result after all; on the contrary, this conciliatory act led to the apostles imprisonment, and to his being carried in bonds to Rome.
The charges against the apostle were utterly false. Never had he spoken against the Jews, nor their temple, and so far from polluting the holy place he was doing it too much honour. Servants of God must expect to be misunderstood, and, perhaps, all the more so when for the sake of promoting harmony they yield to compromises.
To prevent the defiling of the place with riot and murder.
And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, or tribune of the cohort
Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them out of the castle of Antonia which overlooked the temple
Acts 21:35 , Acts 21:36
And when he came upon the stairs, which led up from the temple to the fortress
Acts 21:35 , Acts 21:36
But he, was safe from their fury. The Lord has ways of rescuing his servants out of the most perilous circumstances.