From the very beginning, Paul was warned by the
Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem (see chapters 20:23;
21:4; 21:10,11). Luke had also asked him not to go (Luke
21:12). It was settled in Paul’s mind, though, that even
if it meant death, he would make the journey to
The Jews in Jerusalem hated him; and, after he
had been there for just a short time, they recognized
him and began to yell at him, and a mob attacked him
like a pack of wild dogs. It is ironic that on the same
stairway to the Roman castle where Pilate had condemned
Jesus to death 28 years before, Paul was given the
opportunity to make a speech to the mob. This speech was
Paul’s testimony of how Christ had appeared to him on
the road to Damascus and how he had been saved from
being the chief persecutor of the Christians to a
preacher of the Gospel.
Acts 20:21 records these words: “Testifying both
to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward
God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” This verse
explains so explicitly the two points of salvation. One
is repentance (Luke 13:5); the other is faith toward our
Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9). Without repentance,
Jesus says we should all likewise perish, and without
faith it is impossible to please God.
Chapter 21 records Paul’s return to Jerusalem.
One purpose for the journey was to deliver the offerings
which he had gathered from Gentile churches in Greece
and Asia Minor for the poor saints in Jerusalem. It was
a great offering, for Paul had spent over a year in
gathering it. Again, we see the spirit of brotherly
kindness as the offering is given from the Gentile
churches to the church at Jerusalem.