This week our story comes from Acts 21: 27 – 22: 29 as relayed by brother Paul. Here we see Paul arrested in Jerusalem under the pretense he had brought Greeks into the temple and defiled it. This kerfuffle led to the tribune bringing soldiers and centurions to put down the unrest. As the tribune arrests Paul, the crowd was so raucous nothing could be heard.
As they approached the barracks Paul asked to speak to the tribune, who thinks Paul is an Egyptian responsible for stirring up a revolt and leading assassins into the wilderness. The tribune allows Paul to address the crowd, at which time he relates his past as a persecutor of Christianity, or the Way, and how Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus. Paul learns he will be a witness to everyone of what he learned and saw. But first, Paul is baptized and verbalizes his belief in Jesus.
Paul hears from God that he is going away to the Gentiles to be their minister.It is about this time the crowd decides they have heard enough and begins getting loud again. They want Paul’s blood and the tribune orders Paul into the barracks, where he can be examined via flogging to see what the rage in Jerusalem is all about. At this, Paul informs them he is a Roman citizen by birth, which scared the tar out of the tribune and the others involved.
So what do we learn in this story of Paul’s arrest?
- We learn God raises up the necessary people to reach those in need.
- We learn God’s ambassadors are not always welcomed and we should be prepared also for persecution.
- Sometimes our background is just what we need to avoid persecution or to gain access to a people group. God knows what He is doing when he calls us.
- and the real biggee…Even murderers and persecutors of Christianity can be redeemed by the blood of Jesus. No one is without sin and no one is without fault, but the love of Jesus and grace of God is sufficient to wash away even the most horrible of crimes and sins. No ones past should keep them away from church or belief in Jesus, because Jesus is sufficient for all.
- This is a real big thing for people that say, “The church would burn down if I went in there.” or “God could never forgive me for what I have done.” or “I have done so much for so long, there is no way God would redeem me. I am too far gone.” None of that is true. Jesus is more than sufficient and God’s love is enough.