Spend time in prayer and silence with God, asking Him to meet with you and speak to you.
When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 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, shouting, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place.” (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area). 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. 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. 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. The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done.
– Acts 21:17-19, 27-33
As predicted, Paul was met with severe Jewish persecution in Jerusalem. He was now regarded as the number one threat to Judaism in the world. He was “Jerusalem’s Most Wanted” criminal. Soon after his arrival, he was arrested under the suspicion of having taken Gentiles into the sacred Jewish temple. His defenses to his countrymen were summarily rejected (Acts 22 & 23). For the next few years, Paul would remain a prisoner of the Roman state.
The Big Question
Paul returned to Jerusalem despite knowing that persecution awaited him there. Throughout the history of Biblical Christianity, many believers have been martyred for their faith in Jesus. Have you ever experienced persecution for your faith in Christ? If so, how did you deal with this? Does fear keep you from being a bold witness for Jesus? How are you facing things that hold you down or keep you from proclaiming the Good News of Jesus?
Conclude your time in prayer and silence, reflecting on what God revealed to you today.