Today we read how Paul returned to Jerusalem and it is obvious from the text that Luke, the author of Acts, accompanied him and this is a first-hand account from his personal experience of these events. He writes, “When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry” (21:17-19).
Imagine the conversation – from what we have read in the last few days. How pleased they were to learn this news, for information travelled very slowly in those days and was largely by word of mouth. We read, “And when they heard it, they glorified God” (verse 20).
Let us imagine the reaction among these elders; the foundation members of the ecclesia in Jerusalem, among them would be those who remembered the final words of instruction of their Lord before he ascended to heaven to “be my witnesses … to the end of the earth” (1:8). Did it inspire some of them to travel? It is possible Peter went to Babylon (1 Peter 5:13) and John ended up on “the isle of Patmos” (Revelation 1:9).
How does our reaction compare to those in Jerusalem? To what extent can it be said we have “glorified God” with wonder and appreciation in knowing the way the truth of the original gospel has now spread into so much of the world since the end of the last world war? Look at the list of countries now shown in the CALS Diary! Do we read of events in those countries with wonder and appreciation realizing how the final ingathering is taking place before our Lord appears?
How eager we should be to be part of that wider ingathering if we can possibly make or take the opportunity. Have we genuinely “glorified God” in being able to know this work for the Lord in these final days?