The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them. (Acts 21:26)
Paul sewed tents to pay the expenses for himself and his entourage. Money was tight, but he excelled in the grace of giving and collected an offering in every city for the poor Christians in Jerusalem devastated by the famine.
Luke doesn’t tell us if the offering, mostly from Gentiles, was well received by the predominantly Jewish church. He does tell us that James, the brother of Jesus, strongly requested him to fund the purification of himself and four others. It wasn’t cheap—the animals that were sacrificed would have provided enough meat for a large wedding banquet. He also had to pay the fees associated with the temple and having their heads shaved. (burning their hair at the altar was part of the ritual). Most likely that money came from the Jerusalem offering.
Jesus’ death purified us, so did Paul spend the money for the purification ritual out of love to uphold their traditions? Or did he spend the money to save himself as James suggested?