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3MJ—Jerusalem
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  • 3MJ Jerusalem—Rhodes
    • Jerusalem Rhodes—Cosmopolitan Writer
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      Luke’s command of the Greco-Roman world of his day as evidenced in Acts is unquestionably impressive. Of the abundance of his references in passing, 30 countries, 50 cities, many islands, and 60–100 persons are exclusive to Acts. His grasp of local politics, customs, seafaring, culture, and the Mediterranean world is masterful and puts him in an elite category of cosmopolitan writers from the ancient world. Of the many islands mentioned by Luke, one quite famous is the island of Rhodes, almost always included on any tour group’s cruising itinerary.
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  • 3MJ Jerusalem—Caesarea
    • Jerusalem Caesarea—Herod the Great’s Great City
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      Many of the spectacular ruins in Israel today are the result of the building programs of Herod the Great. Herod entertained the greatest Hellenistic aspirations, and constructed monuments and cities to match. Judea had no natural harbor, so Herod used Roman engineering to create the largest manmade harbor of the ancient world, and a fine city as adornment. He named his capital Caesarea after his patron, the emperor Augustus. The city became known as Caesarea Maritima, “Caesarea by the Sea,” to distinguish this port city from Caesarea Philippi, the city built at ancient Pan by Herod’s son, Philip the Tetrarch, also named after Augustus.
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    • Jerusalem Caesarea—Roman Governors
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      Judea became an imperial province after Herod’s son, Archelaus, who ruled Judea from 4 B.C. to A.D. 6, was banished to Gaul by Augustus after only ten years. The Roman governors took up residence in Herod the Great’s capital city of Caesarea, using Herod’s former palace as residence and governmental headquarters. Caesarea also is where we meet the Roman governors Felix and Festus, before whom Paul defended himself in Acts, as well as a defense before Agrippa II, Herod the Great’s great grandson.
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    • Jerusalem Caesarea—Pilate Inscription
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      During excavations at Caesarea an inscription was found at the theater with the name of Pontius Pilate. This inscription is our only archeological confirmation of the existence of Pilate. Only during Jewish festivals, when Jerusalem crowds swelled and unrest seethed under the surface, did the Roman governor temporarily live in Jerusalem to command his troops in station at the Antonia Fortress adjacent to the temple. Such a festival time is when we meet Pilate considering the case of Jesus before the fickle Jerusalem crowds, who only a week before had acclaimed Jesus the royal Son of David in the Triumphal Entry into the city.
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    • Jerusalem Caesarea—The Early Church
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      Caesarea figures prominently into the story of the early church in Acts. Philip the Evangelist lived here after the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. Cornelius the centurion was converted here, who, as a “God-fearer,” became the paradigm of Pauline conversions on Paul’s missionary journeys. Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great, ruled Judea and lived in Caesarea when attacking early church leaders, such as having James the brother of John murdered and imprisoning the apostle Peter.
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  • 3MJ Jerusalem—Destination
    • Jerusalem Destination—Jerusalem and God’s Will
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      The assumption often is made that God’s will was for Paul to go to Jerusalem. That assumption is totally wrong. God never wanted Paul in Jerusalem. God clearly told Paul to avoid public activity in Jerusalem even shortly after the Damascus Road. Private visits to salute leaders of the Jerusalem church were not a problem. Public preaching and testimony would not serve God’s purposes, and God had made that clear to Paul in a vision in the temple soon after the Damascus road vision (Acts 22:21), as well as while Paul was on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 21:4). God’s will for Paul, instead, was Rome (Acts 23:11). Jerusalem was Paul’s self-willed, destructive, and disastrous detour in the divine itinerary west.
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