Acts 21:17–26 (ESV)
Paul Visits James
17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After
greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there
are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their
children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take
these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But
as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then
Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them.
The Church at Jerusalem rejoices at what God has done through Paul. The leaders ask him to dispel rumors among Jewish Christians about his ministry by taking part in an OT purification ceremony. Today, we are often tempted to judge
fellow Christians on the basis of things not specifically directed in God’s Word. Jesus, by His life, death, and resurrection, forgives our sins, including those of judging others. He is our peace.
I pray: Praise be to You, Jesus, for setting us free from sin and death! Thank You for allowing us to live in freedom. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1882.