Acts 21:12

ESV When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
NIV When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.
NASB When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem.
CSB When we heard this, both we and the local people pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem.
NLT When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
KJV And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

What does Acts 21:12 mean?

When Jesus told the disciples He would be killed in Jerusalem, Peter reacted poorly. He "took [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke Him." Jesus responded, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" (Mark 8:31–33). Jesus knew what Peter didn't; He had to go to Jerusalem and die; the salvation of all of creation depended on it.

Paul's situation is less dire, but he is no less intent. He is in Caesarea Maritima with an assortment of companions from modern-day Turkey and Macedonia, the prophet Agabus, and Philip the evangelist's family and church. The Holy Spirit has spent the last several months warning Paul he will be arrested and suffer when he reaches Jerusalem (Acts 20:22–23). The warning is confirmed not just by Agabus but apparently also by Philip's four prophetess daughters (Acts 21:9–11). Like Peter, the group misunderstands the prophecy and tries to stop Paul.

Their care for their friend oversteps God's will and God's provision:

  • The Jews will beat Paul in the temple courtyard, but the Roman tribune will pull Paul away (Acts 21:30–32). • The tribune will order Paul flogged and the guard will chain him, but Paul's Roman citizenship will stay their hands (Acts 22:24–29).
  • The Sanhedrin will work with a team of assassins to kill Paul, but Paul's nephew will warn the tribune who will sneak Paul away to the governor's quarters in Caesarea Maritima (Acts 23:12–33).
  • The governor will put Paul under house arrest in hopes Paul will offer a bribe for his release, but Paul's friends will still visit him (Acts 24:23–27).
  • Paul will spend two years in Caesarea, but it will give him the opportunity to testify to Herod Agrippa II; as Jesus promised, Paul speaks before a king (Acts 9:15; 26).
  • The ship that takes Paul to Rome will face a terrible storm and wreck on the small island of Malta, but everyone will survive (Acts 27:13–44).
  • When reaching for firewood on Malta, a viper will bite Paul, but Paul will suffer no ill effects and the event will allow him to minister to the island's residents (Acts 28:1–10).
Paul will spend another two years under house arrest in Rome. And yet, he will not only teach as many as will come to him (Acts 28:30–31), but he will also write the books of Colossians, Ephesians, and Philippians, and restore Onesimus and Philemon's relationship.
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