NT Fire Starters – Day 192: Acts 21:17-36
READ: Acts 21:17-36
THINK: Have you ever tried to do something to help someone or made a sincere effort to relate to them and had them not only reject your efforts, but turn on you personally? Perhaps they’ve lied about you, or believed a lie. Maybe they’ve misjudged your motives, or even turned abusive. Such unjust treatment can leave you confused, if not angry. But that would defeat your purpose in reaching out. This is part of the reason that God gives example after example in His Word, showing how Christ’s followers are bound to endure opposition and treachery. It simply comes with the territory of communicating God’s love and truth to a spiritually rebellious world.
RESPOND: What does it mean that the Jewish Christians were “zealous for the law”? (See 21:20 note.) Was this appropriate? Why or why not? How can such a passion be a good thing? How can it be taken to extremes? (See article on The Old Testament Law, p. 128.) Was the information accurate that some of the Jewish believers had received about Paul–that he was teaching people to disregard the law of Moses? Why or why not? Whom do you think had spread these reports and why (cf. v. 27-28)? What was the reasoning behind the church leaders’ request that Paul join the men who were making a special vow? Do you think that this request was reasonable? Why or why not? Why was Paul willing to comply? Do you think Paul expected the reaction he got in the temple? Why or why not? Why couldn’t the commander get the truth about Paul and the situation from the angry mob? What does this show you about the way you may be treated for trying to relate to people and tell the truth?
PRAY: Ask God to help you know whom and what to trust–and not to trust. Ask Him to prepare you for the disappointment, rejection and pain you will unjustly suffer at times for compassionately conveying the truth.
ACT: Sometime today, read the brief article on The Old Testament Law, p. 128. This will give you added insight regarding God’s character and the foundational aspects of His plan of salvation that came through Jesus, who fulfilled God’s law completely. It will also help you see how God’s commands are based on timeless principles and moral standards that those who love Him will continue to follow out of gratitude to Him.