April 30, 2020 – Thursday
Acts 21:27-28 NIV
27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him,
28 shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.”
Paul had recently returned to Jerusalem from the province of Asia. He had joined four others who were going through purification rites that would last seven days. It was when the seven days were almost over that Paul was seized and falsely accused of bringing Greeks into the temple.
It did not end there for (v30) they dragged him from the temple and (v31) they were trying to kill him. Thankfully, for Paul, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul (v31-32).
The commander, not knowing what was going on or why, arrested Paul, placed him in chains, and took him to their barracks. But before being placed in the barracks Paul asked the Roman commander for permission to address the crowd that had followed them.
For some reason the commander granted Paul permission to speak and in the next chapter he spoke in his defense in Aramaic. The crowd listened to Paul and his story as a Jew who persecuted followers of Jesus and of his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. The people listened until he spoke of the Lord directing him to go to the Gentiles. That is when (22:22) they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”
That is when the commander 24 … directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. But it was not to be for 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
Because he was a Roman citizen he was not flogged. Instead, the next day Paul was released and ordered to stand before the chief priests and the Sanhedrin which he did in the next chapter (23).
Paul was dragged from the temple and beaten as they attempted to kill him. Only the intervention of the Roman commander prevented this. Then he was going to be flogged by the Roman soldiers until Paul revealed he was a Roman citizen.
Throughout this we clearly see Paul being persecuted for presenting the good news of Jesus even while many were coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then, as now, the good news was shared in a fallen world with many opposed to it. Today those opposed are different in general, but they are still opposed to the news of the risen Christ.
Today it is the so called secular which has a phobia of the word sin, especially when associated with the word God. But they are not truly secular as they worship the god of Me, Me, Me and whatever they choose to do. As a result they fear His judgment and even hearing His name. They do all they can in their power to keep His name from being mentioned particularly when it comes to His Holiness and His desire to forgive us for our sins. Nonetheless, those numbered in the faith continue to grow as the message of Grace – unmerited favor – continues to go out into the world.
Part of the message going out is our support of missionaries, but another major part of the message going out into the world is how we live our lives in the world. Other people seeing the peace we have, even in the midst of our problem, look to have the same peace in their lives as well. Shalom.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton