17 when we had come to jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 on the following day paul went in with us to james, and all the elders were present. 19 after greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the gentiles through his ministry. – [acts 21:17-19]


one by one


paul’s final trip to jerusalem, recorded in this passage, reminds me of the bibles’ first mention of paul, also in jerusalem. paul has been on a long journey since he was the ‘young man named saul’.


the first mention of paul in scripture shows us a man who is firmly set against this new sect of ‘christians’ who had been causing so much trouble. stephen was stoned for his faith in Christ, and this ‘young man’ was in full support of such punishment.


now, paul is a different person. he has been cleansed by Christ, his soul redeemed, and his calling to serve God greater than saul the young man could have ever imagined. paul no longer pursued God through laws and rituals, but through faith, personal relationship, and a passion to preach Christ to all who would listen, from any background. the gospel paul preached was for all people.


how blessed he must have been to be received gladly by those he once opposed. they were now all bound by the unity that is only found in Christ – a unity that allowed them to freely celebrate one another and the amazing work that God was doing.


i would love for this to be a goal in our relationships as believers – to be able to sit and recall ‘one by one’ the things that God is doing among us.


to tell one by one of God’s miracles, of souls freed from sin, of relationships healed, of families restored, of lives and trajectories and legacies forever altered.


for each of us was once who paul was once – a person set against God and his people, but by God’s grace, we too have been given a ministry and a family of believers with whom we celebrate God’s work.


~ jason soroski