Roman soldiers saved Paul from being beaten to death by an angry Jewish mob. The mob had mistakenly thought he had taken a Gentile named Trophimus into the Jewish-only portion of the Temple. The people in the crowd were "out of their heads mad" at Paul. They raged at him and began to beat him until the Roman soldiers intervened, picked him up and carried him to safety (Acts 21:27-36)
Paul asked to speak to the crowd, and they quieted down when he spoke to them in their native language. They followed his message intently until he talked about Jesus sending him to "outsiders"
(Gentiles). At the mention of that one word, they went berserk again (Acts 22:1-23)
. They were determined to kill him. Their plots during the next several stages of Paul's twisted path through the Jewish and Roman legal system provide a back-story that should repeatedly remind you that Paul's life was in jeopardy almost daily. Under this incredible pressure and scrutiny, Paul repeatedly gave his testimony and kept his head when most people around him went mad with anger and hatred.
Paul used his Roman citizenship to preserve his life, appeal for justice, prevent beatings, and ultimately get to Rome. Despite all the threats and attempts on his life, My promise sustained him until he arrived in Rome:
"Keep up your courage, Paul! You have successfully told your story about Me in Jerusalem, and soon you will do the same in Rome."
My intervention repeatedly preserved Paul's life; also, his cunning maneuvers, quick wit, and use of his Roman citizenship brought him safely to Rome. Safely! Despite the threats, plans, and attempts on his life. Safely! Despite being a prisoner and being caught in a shipwreck. Safely! Despite a potentially deadly viper bite. Never forget that I AM at work in your life too. I want you, like Paul, to use all the tools at your disposal to secure your freedom, to protect your life, and to safeguard the ministry entrusted to you. I have given you your abilities, so use them in My service. If the journey is hard, please remember these words of My great apostle, Paul. His journey to Rome proves these words are true.
Now I'm sure of this: the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us.
As you read about Paul's journey, remember My promises... both to Paul and to you. Your goal isn't Rome as Paul's was; but glory awaits for you!
They [the crowd Paul was addressing] were listening quietly up until he mentioned the outsiders.
Away with him! Such a man can't be allowed to remain here. Kill him! He must die!Chaos broke out again. People were shouting, slamming their coats down on the ground, and throwing fistfuls of dust up in the air. The commandant ordered the soldiers to bring Paul to the barracks and flog him until he confessed to whatever he had done to stir up this outrage.
Back at the barracks, as they tied him up with leather thongs, Paul spoke to a nearby officer.
Is this legal — for you to flog a Roman citizen without a trial? The officer went and spoke to the commandant.Officer:
What can you do about this? Did you know this fellow is a Roman citizen?Commandant (rushing to Paul's side):
What's this? Are you really a Roman citizen?Paul:
I paid a small fortune for my citizenship.Paul:
I was born a citizen.Hearing this, those who were about to start the flogging pulled back, and the commandant was concerned because he had arrested and bound a citizen without cause. He still needed to conduct an investigation to uncover the Jews' accusations against Paul. So the next day, he removed the ties on Paul and called a meeting with the chief priests and council of elders. He brought Paul in and had him stand before the group.
Paul stared at the council and spoke.
Brothers, I have always lived my life to this very day with a clear conscience before God. Ananias the high priest signaled those standing near Paul to hit him on the mouth.
You hypocrite! God will slap you! How dare you sit in judgment and claim to represent the law, while you violate the law by ordering me to be struck for no reason?Bystanders:
The nerve of you insulting the high priest of God!Paul:
I'm sorry, my brothers. I didn't realize this was the high priest. The law warns us to not curse the ruler of the people.Paul noticed that some members of the council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he quickly spoke to the council.
Brothers, I am a Pharisee, born to a Pharisee. I am on trial because I have hope that the dead are raised!That got the two parties arguing with one another because the Sadducees say there is no such thing as resurrection, heavenly messengers, or spirits, and the Pharisees believe in all three. Soon these leaders were shouting, and some of the scholars from the party of the Pharisees rose to their feet.
There is nothing wrong with this man. Maybe he really has encountered a spirit or a heavenly messenger.The two parties were about to start throwing punches, and the commandant was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces, so he sent in his soldiers to intervene. They took Paul back into custody and returned him to their barracks. That night the Lord came near and spoke to him.
Keep up your courage, Paul! You have successfully told your story about Me in Jerusalem, and soon you will do the same in Rome.(Acts 22:22-30; Acts 23:1-11)
I trust in You, O God. I trust in You even in the middle of my struggles, hardships, and hurts. You are my Father and Redeemer and Friend. Sustain me with Your never-ending love and the power of the Holy Spirit as I live my life in honor of Jesus my King. Amen.