March 14, 2022: Day 56 – Joshua 19-21 and Acts 19-21March 15, 2022
In Joshua we finally complete the actual allotment of the land to the tribes of Israel. Now this was no longer a hypothetical exercise but the people of Israel were actually given the land after they took over the towns and the people who were inhabiting those lands. Chapter 20 gives us the towns where people who had killed others by mistake could flee and escape retribution. The final chapter gives us the cities where the Levites were able to stay since they were the only tribe not given land as a result of their vocation, as the priests of the people.
In Acts we find ourselves ping ponging back and forth from the third person to the first person in the description of what happens next in the life of Paul. Remember the theme that we identified last time? Arrival, preaching, beating, moving on, well that continues here as well. This time Paul finds himself in Ephesus which is where the church sits that he writes to in Ephesians. A riot takes place there because the silver smiths were furious that they were about to lose their livelihood as a result of Paul’s preaching against idols.
Paul moves on to Jerusalem which his disciples and loved ones encouraged him not to go to because the Christian movement, or the Way as it is described a couple of times in our readings for today, has become so popular that it is affecting the Jewish population as well. There is an accusation that Paul is telling people not only to love Jesus, but to give up all of their Jewish customs and traditions. This was very serious and Jerusalem would have been the one place he would not want to go if this accusation was true. But he goes anyway.
It is from here where we see that he is arrested and the rest of Acts plays out with him under arrest and in the hands of the Romans with the Jewish authorities looking for opportunities to finish him. The rest of Acts has Paul in custody, but this is where it begins.