Acts  ◦   Chapter 21

1After heart-wrenching goodbyes, we sailed straight to Cos. The following day we went to Rhodes, and then on to Patara,2where we found passage on a ship going to Phoenicia.3We sighted Cyprus, sailed south of it and on to Syria, landing at Tyre, where our ship was to unload cargo.4Finding the Lord's interns there, we spent a week with them. Impressed by the Holy Spirit, they warned Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.5But at the end of the week, we left and continued toward Jerusalem. All the interns, along with their wives and children, accompanied us out of the city. We all knelt together on the beach and spoke with the Lord.6After saying goodbye, we boarded the ship, and they went back to their homes.

7We continued our journey from Tyre, arriving in Ptolemais, where we greeted our fellow workers and friends of God, and spent a day with them.8We left the next day and arrived in Caesarea, where we stayed at the home of Philip the disseminator of the Remedy, one of the seven chosen in Jerusalem to distribute food.9He had four unmarried daughters who were spokespersons for God.

10Several days after we arrived at Philip's place, one of the Lord's spokespersons, Agabus, came down from Judea.11Coming right over to us, he took Paul's belt and tied his own hands and feet, and said, "The Holy Spirit sent me to warn you with this message: 'If you go to Jerusalem, the Jews will tie you up like this and turn you over to the non-Jewish authorities.'"

12Upon hearing this, we, along with all our friends there, begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem.13But Paul said, "Why are you crying like this? Are you trying to undermine my resolve? Don't worry, I am ready not only to be imprisoned, but also to die in Jerusalem to promote the true character of the Lord Jesus."14Once we understood that he would not change his mind, we stopped trying and said, "It's in God's hands. May his will be done."

15So we packed up and headed to Jerusalem.16Some of the interns from Caesarea went with us and took us to the home of Mnason, where we stayed. He was from Cyprus and had become one of the Lord's interns early on.

17When we arrived in Jerusalem, the friends of God welcomed us warmly.18The next day, Paul and our whole team went to see James, and all the church leaders were present there.19They exchanged greetings, and Paul gave a detailed account of what God had accomplished amongst the non-Jews through his ministry.

20This news brought joy to them, and they praised God. Then they said to Paul, "Tens of thousands of Jews have believed, yet they all remain slavishly devoted to enacting the little drama, adhering to the script.21They have been told that you teach the Jews living among the non-Jews that they no longer need to enact the drama and follow the script given through Moses, such as circumcising their children or adhering to other symbolic rituals.22What are we going to do? It's only a matter of time and they will know you are here.23So follow our instructions. There are four men who have taken a vow in harmony with the script given through Moses.24Join these four men and participate in the enactment of their purification ritual, and pay their expenses so they can shave their heads, just as the script describes. Then everyone will know that what has been said about you is not true, and you continue to follow the script and act out its lessons.25As far as the non-Jews who have partaken of the Remedy, we have sent them our decision that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality."

26The next day, Paul went with the four men and acted out the purification ritual according to the script. Then he went to the temple to notify them of the date when the purification enactment would end and the ritual offering for each of them would be made.

27As the end of the seven-day purification period approached, some Jews from Asia spotted Paul at the temple. They started a riot and seized him,28shouting, "People of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches people all over the world that our ways are outdated, the law of Moses is obsolete, and the temple is unimportant. He has even brought Greeks into the temple and desecrated this holy place!"29(They had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul brought him to the temple.)

30The riot spread out across the entire city, and people came running from all directions. They dragged Paul out of the temple area, and the gates were immediately shut.31As the mob was attempting to kill Paul, the Roman commander got word of the riot consuming the city.32With his officers and soldiers, he immediately ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

33The commander ordered Paul arrested and bound with two chains, then he asked who he was and what he had done.34But the crowd was in a frenzy, with multiple people shouting at once. Since the commander could not get the truth of what happened, he ordered that Paul be taken to the barracks.35As Paul approached the steps, the mob became so violent that the soldiers had to carry him to keep him safe from attacks.36The mob followed, shouting, "Take him away!"

37The soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks when he asked the commander, "May I speak with you?" "Do you speak Greek?" he replied.38"Aren't you that Egyptian who started a rebellion here a while back and then fled to the desert with four thousand terrorists?"39Paul answered, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, still a citizen of that important city. Please, will you allow me to speak to the people?"

40With permission from the commander, Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his arms for silence, and when they had quieted, he spoke to them in Aramaic.