Paul longed to go back to Jerusalem to speak to the people there. He was familiar with their culture and theological ideas; after all, it was the city at where he pursued Biblical scholarship under Gamaliel. Paul knew the gospel was not for the Gentiles only, but for the Jews also and Paul’s ultimate goal was to reach Jerusalem, the hardest place on earth to convince people of the Gospel. This was Paul’s ultimate ministry, the climax of the Gospel ministry. Paul’s theology of justification by faith apart from works of the Law was not digested well in Jerusalem. The theology of salvation by works was still popular there. Because of his preaching, Paul was not welcomed warmly back in Jerusalem. In fact, he was attacked by an angry mob! Notwithstanding this greeting, Paul’s desire was that all would have the gospel and that all would have the opportunity to be convinced and be baptized. This was his goal. Paul was trying his best to reach the people of Jerusalem by meeting them where they were spiritually even though that meant participating in the cleansing rituals of the temple (v. 26).
Greeted by that angry mob, Paul did not deny his faith. The angry mob did not stop Paul from reaching out to the people sharing the love and peace that comes only through Jesus Christ. Perhaps he was remembering the words of Jesus, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Surely Paul cared deeply about the spiritual salvation of all. He longed for everyone in Jerusalem to consider the Gospel and let the Holy Spirit work to convince them of this gospel. Paul did not give up, even up until his last days.
It is our duty as Christians to be instruments of Christ to spread the Gospel and to persist in it. Will you take on this challenge and serve as a beacon of light to all those who have yet to experience a relationship with Christ?
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.