Acts 21:16-20
Acts 21:16 (KJB)
There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.
Some of the disciples had gone with Paul on his journey to Jerusalem. There was a disciple named Mnason, who was visiting Caesarea but was from Cyprus. His name means “a diligent seeker.” He must have owned a house west of Jerusalem or maybe within the city itself because they had stayed overnight at his home. Now the phrase “an old disciple” does not necessarily mean he was old in age. The Greek word seems to indicate that he had been a disciple for quite a number of years, maybe going back as far as when the Lord was still on earth which would have been about 30 years ago or he could have been a convert of Peter on the day of Pentecost. It does not really matter because here he is showing himself faithful to the Apostle Paul on his last trip to Jerusalem. One need not have a great big ministry but one just needs to be faithful in his daily walk and the Lord will use a faithful Christian. This is the only time he is mentioned in the New Testament but God saw him faithful and he is now in the pages of eternal Scripture.
Acts 21:17 (KJB)
And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
The next day they had arrived in Jerusalem and the Christians who were there had received Paul with much joy. They were happy to see Paul and his company, especially with the Gentile believers, Luke still being with them.
Acts 21:18 (KJB)
And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
The next day, Paul and Luke with the rest of the company had gone to see James, the half-brother of Jesus. They had assembled all the elders of the church of Jerusalem with James to greet Paul. It seems that none of the other Apostles are mentioned as being in Jerusalem. 7 years prior at the Council of Jerusalem in 49 AD, they were all there. At this time they all must be in different areas of the Roman empire preaching the Gospel and making converts. John had gone to Ephesus, Andrew was martyred in either Greece or Scythia, and Thomas was martyred in India, so they had begun to spread out very widely to proclaim the true Gospel.
Acts 21:19 (KJB)
And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
Paul had greeted the Jerusalem elders warmly and then he declared to them all the things that God was doing among the Gentiles by his ministry. This is a very important point. Paul is stating that God was doing wonderful things “by his ministry.” Every time a Christian has a ministry which is true to the word, God will also do great things through that ministry. It is a great encouragement to believers that when they minister in truth, that God is the one who approves the ministry by allowing much fruit to be borne. The Lord Jesus Christ had stated that the word of the Gospel would go forth to the Gentile nations as well and Paul is now bringing the news that a great ministry to the Gentiles and much fruit has been generated among them in all the cities which Paul visited. When you think that Paul had accomplished so much without the benefit of any of our modern tools such as radio or TV, it staggers the mind. So those who say they have no ministry but then waste time twittering and texting nonsense, they have only thrown themselves in denial of the truth and they will have nothing to bring to Heaven on the last day or their last day.
Acts 21:20 (KJB)
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
James and the Jerusalem elders had glorified the Lord because of the great works which was being done among the Gentiles. The Jerusalem church had a problem which they now shared with Paul. The Judaizers were still teaching and insisting that one must keep the law, especially circumcision, in order to be saved. The false teachers were following Paul from city to city and making false accusations against him. They were claiming that Paul taught that the Jews should not circumcise their sons and to stop walking in the ways of Jewish customs. Paul had never taught the Jews that they had to become Gentiles in order to be saved and in the same way he never taught the Gentiles that they had to become Jews to be saved and follow Christ. Paul taught a gospel of grace for salvation. Apparently some from the areas where Paul was teaching had gone to Jerusalem to meet with the Sanhedrin and make these false accusations against Paul and that is why Jerusalem was filled with Judaizers. They probably came from Macedonia, Asia, Greece, and other places and all had made the same false accusations against Paul.