Vs. 17, “When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly.” This would be Paul’s last missionary journey as he would arrive to Jerusalem. Some scholars believe Paul went to Jerusalem despite God warning him on a few occasions. But God would be glorified and work for the good of those who love Him. When Paul arrived to Jerusalem, he would find himself in a predicament. The Jewish Christians wanted to preserve the culture & Mosaic influence in the church…they had heard false rumors about Paul teaching the Gentiles to turn away from the Jewish customs. It is here that brings about some controversy for Theologians. Was Paul right in taking a Jewish Vow to appease the Jews? Did he sell out? Paul ultimately did the vow to help win the Jewish Christians to the Gospel. Yet, the Jews would find a cause to kill Paul as Paul was ironically in the temple to help save them. But God would intervene and Paul would use his Roman citizenship as protection from the Jewish mob.
Regarding application…Vows & Grace. Vs. 24, “Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” Paul did not have to take this vow, but he did for his Jewish Christian brothers & sisters. Paul understood ultimately that he lived under Grace, not law. We as Christians would be wiser if we remembered these two things. Vows represents the cultures we live in…for the Jews, it was very important to uphold the customs. Paul realized that these customs did not make you saved, but he wanted to accomodate them the best he could. We are all one church. We labeled the churches back then Jewish & Gentile…and we label the churches today…Korean, Chinese, American churches, etc…. We must remember that we should do our best to accomodate each other, but also accomodate the culture we are with at the time. But I think all of us need to learn to give a little bit more so that Grace increases with our relationships with each other.