The Passion of Paul


By Pastor Roger Eng, May 15, 2022

The Passion of Paul (Acts 21:17-23:35)

• 29/89 chapters in the Gospels concern the passion of Christ. • 8/28 chapters in Acts concern the passion of Paul.

  1. Paul’s Passion to Reach Jerusalem

Acts 21:10 (NLT), … a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11 He came over, 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 Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 13 But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

  1. Paul’s Passion to Reach the Jews

Acts 21:17 (NLT), …the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly. 18 The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19 After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21 But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22 What should we do?”

To Reach Jewish Believers

Acts 21:23 (NLT), “Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24 Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws…” 27 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, 28 yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.”

A Temple Warning Stone on display in The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, says:

“No foreigner is to enter within the balustrade and enclosure around the temple area. Whoever is caught, will have himself to blame for his death which will follow.”

To Reach Jewish Unbelievers

Acts 21:40 (NLT), 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. “Brothers and esteemed fathers,” Paul said, “listen to me as I offer my defense…” 3 “...I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today. 4 And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death…” 21 “But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’” 22 The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to shout, “Away with such a fellow! He isn’t fit to live!”

To Reach the Jewish Council

Acts 23:1, Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!” 2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth…3 But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?” 4 Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?” 5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest…” 6 Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!”

  1. Paul’s Passion to Reach the Unreached (Rome)

Acts 23:11, That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”


Q - Why is there so much hostility to Paul and to the Church in general?

A - For more than two decades, the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem have been ignoring the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and God. Rather than repenting and believing in Jesus, they are driven by their guilty conscience to suppress the truth of the Gospel and treat Christians inhumanly.

“Holding conscience down does not deprive it of its force; it merely distorts and redirects that force ... like the compression of a powerful spring so that it buckles to the side.” - The Revenge of Conscience, by Jay Budziszewski