In an effort to unify Jewish and Gentile Christians, Paul took up a collection from predominately gentile churches in Asia Minor and Greece to be used for helping the poor in the Jewish church in Jerusalem. In taking this collection, he also gathered representatives to travel with him from the giving churches to Jerusalem. The names of those representatives are given in 20:4. It is Paul’s goal to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost.
What he is doing is a good thing, but the assurance which comes from God is that he will not be well received. Prison and hardships await. And yet, just as Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted, so Paul is being “pushed” by the Spirit to Jerusalem.
Paul journeys as a man on a mission. If that’s what God has waiting for him, he’s willing to take it.
To stay on schedule, Paul bypasses Ephesus where he’s spent so many years in ministry and asks the Elders of that church to meet him in Miletus. His statement: “I am innocent of the blood of all men” is interesting to me. It reminds me of Pilate, washing his hands at the trial of Jesus and proclaiming himself “innocent” of Jesus’ blood. Pilate, of course, wasn’t innocent. He had used little of his power to try and release Jesus. Paul, on the other hand, had done all he could to proclaim Jesus to the lost. There genuinely nothing more to be done.
I wonder if we might make the same claim? Have we . . . are we doing all we can to take the message of Jesus wherever we go?