After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara.
There we boarded a ship sailing for the Syrian province of Phoenicia.
We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload.
We went ashore, found the local believers, a and stayed with them a week. These disciples prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem.
When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including wives and children, came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed,
and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters b but stayed only one day.
Then we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food.
He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
During our stay of several days, a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea.
When he visited us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, "The Holy Spirit declares, 'So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Romans.'"
When we heard this, we who were traveling with him, as well as the local believers, begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
But he said, "Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus."
When it was clear that we couldn't persuade him, we gave up and said, "The will of the Lord be done."
Shortly afterward we packed our things and left for Jerusalem.
Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.
All the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us cordially.
The next day Paul went in with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present.
After greetings were exchanged, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
After hearing this, they praised God. But then they said, "You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all take the law of Moses very seriously.
Our Jewish Christians here at Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews living in the Gentile world to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They say that you teach people not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs.
Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come.
"Here's our suggestion. We have four men here who have taken a vow and are preparing to shave their heads.
Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, and pay for them to have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.
"As for the Gentile Christians, all we ask of them is what we already told them in a letter: They should not eat food offered to idols, nor consume blood, nor eat meat from strangled animals, and they should stay away from all sexual immorality."
So Paul agreed to their request, and the next day he went through the purification ritual with the men and went to the Temple. Then he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.
The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him,
yelling, "Men of Israel! Help! This is the man who teaches against our people and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple -- and he even defiles it by bringing Gentiles in!"
(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, c and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)
The whole population of the city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him.
As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.
The commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. Then he asked the crowd who he was and what he had done.
Some shouted one thing and some another. He couldn't find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, so he ordered Paul to be taken to the fortress.
As they reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift Paul to their shoulders to protect him.
And the crowd followed behind shouting, "Kill him, kill him!"
As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, "May I have a word with you?" "Do you know Greek?" the commander asked, surprised.
"Aren't you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took four thousand members of the Assassins out into the desert?"
"No," Paul replied, "I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people."
The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic. d
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)