Acts Chapter 21 & 22 - Paul's Defense

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We ended our last post on Acts with the uplifting fact that when Paul arrived in Jerusalem Acts chapter 21 The Journey to Jerusalem and met with the Apostle James there and with others they all glorified God.

We were happy enough with that then but now let's consider verses 19 - 20 to see why they did this.

19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;

Paul gave them details of the work of God in the lives of many Gentiles who had heard the Gospel through him.
The Apostles were very happy to hear about this first hand even though they may have heard some parts of the full story before.

Now Paul did not only take the Gospel message to the Gentiles but also to the Jews and not all of them had rejected his message.  These Jews would have experienced his teaching in other matters too and known what his behaviour was like when in their areas.

But there were also other Jews in and around Jerusalem who had been hearing more talk about Paul and his views on circumcision with regards to the Gentile converts and they felt that Paul was not as intent on keeping the law as a good Jew should be.

Continuing on in verses 21 - 25  we see that the Apostles do not want any misunderstandings or ill feeling about Paul so they ask him in verse 24 to go to the Temple and make it obvious that he is observing the Jewish law.

that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.

You see when rumours start going round and people hear certain things it is very hard for them to unhear those things.  The best thing is for them to talk to the people involved or be able to witness definite acts to find out exactly what they say or what they have done.

verses 26 - 36

But even though Paul is seen by many to be upholding Jewish Law there are others who have heard the rumours and do not know the full facts but are ready to jump in there and speak out against Paul in fact so much so that instead of talking to him and clearing up misunderstandings they end up inciting the people which leads to others taking action without full knowledge as well.  In fact verse 30 tells us that the whole city was affected by there talk.

30 And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.

What did they propose to do to Paul, well verse 31 tells us they wanted to kill him.

Imagine because some people say something it can have such an effect as to lead to planning a death.

Paul was not killed but he was in the process of being beaten when he was rescued by the commander of the garrison who took him away bound because he could not find out there for himself who Paul was and what he had done.  It is clear in verses 33 - 36 that the people again were not willing to be quiet and let Paul be heard by the commander.

33 Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another.
So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. 35 When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!”

What was going to happen?
Was the commander going to find out what had happened or was he even really interested in the truth?

verses 37 - 40

It becomes clear here that the commander did not know who Paul was or what nationality he was, even thinking he might be an Egyptian who had been causing trouble previously.

But when Paul was able to speak to him and explain he was a Jewish citizen the commander allowed him to speak to the people.

This commander did not know what he was allowing because we all know from the the previous experiences in this book of Acts that none of the Apostles would not take advantage of relating the Gospel when they have a crowd to hear them.

And that is exactly what happens in

Acts Chapter 22 verses 1 - 21

Paul's defense is his life story.

Paul speaks to the crowd in Hebrew and relates the story of his conversion because he knows just what Stephen knew in Acts Chapter 7 that The Gospel is the Answer.

He shares some of his history to the people including his heritage as a Jew, his meeting with Jesus on the Road to Damascus in chapter 9 and of his meeting with Ananias also in chapter 9 

verses 22 - 30

Then when he mentions about being sent by God to witness to the Gentiles the crowd again turn against him in anger. 

What will help him in this situation?

First Paul had used the fact that he was a Jew to gain the attention of the commander to be allowed to speak to the people in Jerusalem but now he uses the fact that he is also a Roman Citizen so that the commander will know that he needs to keep Paul safe especially when Paul is a Roman citizen from birth and not one who has bought the privilege as the commander had.

So will Paul have to speak to the Roman authorities next?

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
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