The Crowd’s Reaction
The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to shout, “Away with such a fellow! He isn’t fit to live!” They yelled, threw off their coats, and tossed handfuls of dust into the air.Acts 22:22-23
Paul Discloses His Roman Citizenship
The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him lashed with whips to make him confess his crime. He wanted to find out why the crowd had become so furious. When they tied Paul down to lash him, Paul said to the officer standing there, “Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?”
When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and asked, “What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!”
So the commander went over and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes, I certainly am,” Paul replied.
“I am, too,” the commander muttered, “and it cost me plenty!”
Paul answered, “But I am a citizen by birth!”
The soldiers who were about to interrogate Paul quickly withdrew when they heard he was a Roman citizen, and the commander was frightened because he had ordered him bound and whipped.Acts 22:24-29
Paul Before the High Council
The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them. Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”
Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”
Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”
“I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’”
Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!”
This divided the council—the Pharisees against the Sadducees— for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. So there was a great uproar. Some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue forcefully. “We see nothing wrong with him,” they shouted. “Perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him.” As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress.
That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”Acts 22:30 – 23:11
I am sure just the title I have given this Gem is enough to make you step back and wonder. We move on now to the next stage and so as usual I will give you time to digest the text ahead of us, although I have already given it to you in Gem 1808. Again take note of the detail and the arrangement. Those two things will tell you much. I am sure you will want to ask lots of questions about this section. So as usual I will give you time to do that.
Note the reaction of all the key players.
- The crowd
- The officer
- The commander
There are some curious parts to the flow of the story. Just who is it calling the shots in the action of what happens next? It is certainly not the Sanhedrin. As you read ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the detail, pointing out to you the detail which seems strange, out of place, incongruent. Often such detail hides significant things to take note of.
Trust is the most powerful response to suffering.Anon
If you can dream it, you can do it.Walt Disney
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.C. S. Lewis
God mysteriously weaves the prayers of his people into the way he runs the world.Anon