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20. Paul's Return to Jerusalem (Acts 21-23)

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The Lord’s Word in Jerusalem (1:1-7:60)



Luke writes the story of the Holy Spirit empowered evangelization of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost ends of the earth. He takes on a journey from Jesus’ ascension outside Jerusalem then recounts how the Spirit who came at Pentecost empowered the apostolic church to evangelize Jerusalem and Judea and even reach out to Samaria. By the second half of the book, Peter has already launched the vision to the Gentiles, which Paul embraces as his own calling, taking it from Syrian Antioch out to Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and on into Mediterranean Europe.

Authorship and Recipients


Meaning and Message


A. The Lord’s Word in Jerusalem (1:1-7:60)

Lord’s Word Dispersed to Judea and Samaria (8:1-12:25)

B. The Lord’s Word Dispersed to Judea and Samaria (8:1-12:25)

Ends of the Earth (13:1-28:31)

C. Ends of the Earth (13:1-28:31)

Asia and Greece (13:1-20:38)
Rome (21:1-28:31)

2. Rome (21:1-28:31)

Concluding Thoughts


Last week Paul was saying his goodbyes to the congregations of Greece and Asia Minor.

Concluding Thoughts

He was recounting his faithful ministry
… foretelling suffering and imprisonment as he moved on to Jerusalem and Rome
… commend the church’s leaders to God’s care and the churches to their care
Now Paul sets out for his final visit to Jerusalem and then the onward journey to Rome (cf. )
Parallels between Jesus and Paul (Pervo, Acts, Hermeneia [Fortress, 2009], 534).
Richard I. Pervo, Acts: A Commentary on the Book of Acts, ed. Harold W. Attridge, Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2009), 534.
“Passion” Predictions: Jesus (, ; )/Paul (; , )
Jesus (, ; )
Paul (; , )
Farewell Address: Jesus ()/Paul ()
Jesus ()
Paul ()
Resurrection: Sadducees Oppose: Jesus ()/Paul (Acts 23:6-10)
Jesus ()
Paul (Acts 23:6-10)
Staff of High Priest Slaps Jesus ()/Paul ()
Four “Trials” of Jesus/Paul
Sanhedrin: Jesus ()/Paul ()
Roman Governor: Jesus before Pilate ()/Paul before Felix (Acts 24:1-22)
Herodian King: Jesus before Herod Antipas ()/Paul before King Agrippa (Acts 26)
Roman Governor: Jesus before Pilate (/Paul before Festus ()
Declarations of Innocence:
Jesus before Pilate (, cf. vv. 4, 22), Herod (), and the Centurion ()
Paul before Lysias the Tribune (), Festus (), and Agrippa ()
Mob Demands Execution of Jesus ()/Jesus ()

Paul’s Return to Jerusalem

Paul Travels from Miletus to Jerusalem ()

Paul Travels from Miletus to Jerusalem ()

From Miletus to Tyre ()

From Miletus to Caesarea ()
Acts 21:1–6 NLT
1 After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2 There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. 3 We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5 When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6 and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.

From Tyre to Caesarea ()

Acts 21:7–9 NLT
7 The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. 8 The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.

Agabus’s Prophecy ()

Arrival in Jerusalem (Acts 21:15

The Prophecy ()

Acts 21:10–12 NLT
10 Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11 He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’ ” 12 When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.

Paul’s “Gethsemane” ()

Acts 21:13–14 NLT
13 But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Paul Arrives in Jerusalem ()

Acts 21:15–17 NLT
15 After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16 Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17 When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.

Paul Confers with James ()

Paul Arrested ()

Paul Addresses the Crowd ()

Paul Claims His Rights as a Roman Citizen ()

Paul before the High Council ()

Foiling the Plot to Kill Paul ()

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