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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. 

 

Paul completed his third and last missionary enterprise upon arriving in Jerusalem. He arrived before the Day of Pentecost. It would not be long before the Romans arrested the apostle. After Paul’s experiences in Jerusalem, the remainder of the book of Acts concerns the arrest and imprisonment of the apostle.  

Verses 17-26 describe how church leaders received Paul’s team with a warm welcome. They rejoiced over Gentiles coming to Christ. However, a report from the Jewish Diaspora showed that Paul undermined Jewish customs, which was invalid. This section attempts to resolve that issue.  

21:17 

And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 

When Paul, Luke (note “we”), and the team arrived, the elders in Jerusalem received them “gladly.”  

21:18 

On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 

The day after Paul arrived in Jerusalem, he met with elders of the church, which included James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:13-21).  

21:19 

When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 

Paul told James and the elders how God reached the Gentiles through his ministry. Evidently, he recounted each event where Gentiles came to Christ, but He gave God the credit for this marvelous ministry (Acts 14:27; 15:4, 12).  

PRINCIPLE: 

We make a grave mistake if we take credit for what God does in our ministries.  

APPLICATION: 

Those of us in ministry need to see ourselves as vehicles God uses rather than those who contribute to what God does (Ro 15:18; 1 Co 3:5-7; Eph 3:8; 1 Th 2:4). However, we do not need to negate what we have done in ministry (1 Co 15:10). Yet, it is what Christ accomplishes through us that should be emphasized (2 Co 10:17).  

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