Online Bible Commentary
They Glorified the Lord
Acts 21:15 And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge. 17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. 22 What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. 25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality." (NKJV)
The time is 57 A.D. Paul is ending his third and final missionary journey. He is now in Caesarea, on his way to Jerusalem to report back to the church the successes achieved for the Lord on his trip.
In this passage, Paul and his companions leave for Jerusalem after staying many days in Caesarea (v. 15a). The writer of Acts, Luke, indicates by the term “we” that he is part of the travel party (v. 15b).
Paul has been warned by his fellow Christians all along his journey home to not return to Jerusalem. They feared that the Jews will attempt to harm him. Nevertheless, Paul, his travel companions, and “some of the disciples from Caesarea” take the more than fifty mile journey up to Jerusalem (v. 16a).
“Mnason”, a resident of Jerusalem, who was in Caesarea goes with them and lodges them in his home (v. 16c). Mnason is an “early disciple” from “Cyprus” (v. 16d).
Paul is welcomed by his fellow Christians upon arrival in Jerusalem (v. 17). He rests and then the next day meets with James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, and the elders in the church (v. 18).
Paul then gives his report of his third missionary journey to the church leaders (v. 19a). They rejoice in the many Gentiles won to the Lord and “glorified the Lord” (vv. 19b-20a).
The leaders of the church add "You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs” (vv. 20b-21). The church leaders are aware that the Jews were accusing Paul of turning Jews away from obeying the customs of the Law.
The church leaders fully expect Paul to be opposed by the Jews in Jerusalem (v. 22) and propose a plan to make him appear to be a supporter of the Law. They suggest that he take a Jewish vow, paying for himself and four others who would be doing so the following day (vv. 23-24).
The church leaders make it clear that Gentile believers will not be required to take this vow. They will only be required to abide by the conditions previously established by the Jerusalem Council (v. 25).
With his return to Jerusalem Paul has officially ended his third, and final, Missionary Journey. The leaders at the church in Jerusalem rejoiced when they heard that many Gentiles had been led to the Lord.
The Journey was successful and the church glorified the Lord. This is a reminder that successes in a ministry are not successes of a ministry. Nothing happens if the Lord does not make it happen. The Lord is always the One to be glorified.