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a sin offering, and a ram for a peace offering, along with food and drink offerings, upon completion of the period of the vow.


21, 25: Paul is informed about the apostolic decree, seemingly for the first time (see the notes on 15, 13-35). The allusion to the decree was probably introduced here by Luke to remind his readers that the Gentile Christians themselves were asked to respect certain Jewish practices deriving from the law.


Acts 21: 17-26


17 When we reached Jerusalem the brothers welcomed us warmly. 18The next day, Paul accompanied us on a visit to James, and all the presbyters were present. 19 He greeted them, then proceeded to tell them in detail what God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 They praised God when they heard it but said to him, “Brother, you see how many thousands of believers there are from among the Jews, and they are all zealous observers of the law. 21They have been informed that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to abandon Moses and that you are telling them not to circumcise their children or to observe their customary practices. 22 What is to be done? They will surely hear that you have arrived. 23 So do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow. 24Take these men and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses that they may have their head shaved.


In this way


everyone will know that there is nothing to the reports they have been given about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law. 25 As for the Gentiles who have come to believe, we sent them our decision that they abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage.” 26 So Paul took the men, and on the next day after purifying himself together with them entered the temple to give notice of the day when the purification would be completed and the offering made for each of them.


REFLECTION:


The Spirit guided Paul to Jerusalem. Paul knew that suffering waited for him. He gladly faced the dangers for the sake of Jesus.


James and


the presbyters recognized that God worked through Paul. They were happy to hear that God’s kingdom was spreading among the non-Jews.


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