Testifying in Jerusalem

Day 58

Acts 21 & 22

Jerusalem has a spiritual draw. I’ve been going to Jerusalem for ten years now and I will continue to return to Jerusalem for the rest of my life. Paul felt the same way. He had to keep returning to Jerusalem. Even though his ministry was primarily to the Gentiles in Europe, Paul regularly returned to Jerusalem…sometimes to be there for one of the feasts and sometimes just to be there. Jerusalem is the holy city, the city of the great King. Jesus said so. (Matthew 5:35) It’s the place where God inaugurates the major purposes of His redemptive agenda. It’s the place of our salvation. It’s the place to which Jesus will return and the place from which He will rule the nations. No wonder we are drawn to the eternal city of Jerusalem.

In the year A.D. 57 Paul was returning to Jerusalem yet again. As he journeyed to Jerusalem there were prophetic words concerning the trouble he would face in Jerusalem. First in Tyre there are prophetic words warning Paul about what will happen in Jerusalem. Then when Paul came to Caesarea; here we meet some friends we first met twenty years ago — Philip the Evangelist and Agabus the Prophet. Agabus in dramatic fashion prophesied how Paul would be bound in Jerusalem.

Some have asked was Paul right in going to Jerusalem. I say, who are we to tell the Apostle Paul what he should or shouldn’t do? Paul knew what awaited him, but he wanted to testify in Jerusalem one more time. Personal prophecy is not a means of primary directive. Personally I believe Paul did exactly what he was supposed to do and those who warned him prophetically about what was going to happen did exactly what they were supposed to do.

The account of Paul’s visit to Pastor James in Jerusalem gives you a feel of just how Jewish the church in Jerusalem was. It reminds me of some of the Messianic synagogues in Israel. It would be strange for Gentile believers to adopt these Jewish customs, but for Jewish believers (especially in Israel) to pattern their worship after a Jewish synagogue service makes perfect sense.

Ever since his conversion on the Damascus road nearly twenty-five years earlier, Paul had been following Jesus. Do you remember what Jesus told Ananias about Paul? “I will show him how many thing he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Now as Paul is seized in the temple, he enters into an eerie repetition of what Jesus suffered in the exact same place. When Jesus stood before Pilate, the crowds shouted, “Away with Him!” (John 19:15) Now in the very same place, an angry mob is shouting at Paul, “Away with him!” (Acts 21:36)

Then Paul gives his final testimony in Jerusalem. You will notice that it was not the claim that Jesus was the Messiah that was intolerable to the Jewish unbelievers; rather it was the message that Gentiles could now enter into covenant with God. Here we identify one of the prime components of a religious spirit: The desire to keep the Kingdom of God exclusive and elite upon terms other than what God has established. Pray that you would never have that kind of spirit!


Today I am spending the entire day preparing Sunday’s message on the Second Coming. There is a real excitement about this Sunday and I am trusting the Lord to help me bring a very powerful message on the Blessed Hope. Pray for me. Tell somebody about this Sunday and invite them to come to church with you. Jesus is coming soon!




Here is one of my all time favorite songs. I’ve asked Eric Stark to sing it for us this Sunday. The words are awesome! Check ’em out…

When He Returns
Bob Dylan

The iron hand it ain’t no match for the iron rod,
The strongest wall will crumble and fall to a mighty God.
For all those who have eyes and all those who have ears
It is only He who can reduce me to tears.
Don’t you cry and don’t you die and don’t you burn
For like a thief in the night, He’ll replace wrong with right
When He returns.

Truth is an arrow and the gate is narrow that it passes through,
He unleashed His power at an unknown hour that no one knew.
How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?
Can I cast it aside, all this loyalty and this pride?
Will I ever learn that there’ll be no peace, that the war won’t cease
Until He returns?

Surrender your crown on this blood-stained ground, take off your mask,
He sees your deeds, He knows your needs even before you ask.
How long can you falsify and deny what is real?
How long can you hate yourself for the weakness you conceal?
Of every earthly plan that be known to man, He is unconcerned,
He’s got plans of His own to set up His throne
When He returns.