Acts 21 pivots to the next section of Luke's account of the first 30 years of the Christian church. By now, we are used to Paul's miraculous escapes from opposition and persecution. A new kind of pathway now opens up for Paul, the missionary apostle.
The book of Acts has so far followed the program established by Jesus' words in Acts 1:8. The apostles had become his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and since Acts 10, had begun a mission to the gentiles which would indeed stretch to the ends of the earth. But this rapid expansion and generous welcome of gentiles into the Christian faith was not without its problems. Soon a faction was demanding that gentiles must become circumcised Jews before they could become Christians. The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) was called to resolve this issue. Both the decision made, and the process followed, profoundly shaped the way in which Christianity changed the world over the following centuries. (Please note, bible study questions relating to the sermon can be accessed by clicking on the paperclip icon, found on the right).
As Luke transitions from his gospel and continues his account of all that Jesus did, chapter 1 recounts Jesus' ascension to his Father and commissioning of his apostles. As Jesus' church, we now share in this mission and must play our part in it.