27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”
Cleansing ceremony- Paul had just spent 7 days in the temple.
21 But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk in our customs. 22 So what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you’ve come. 23Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have obligated themselves with a vow. 24 Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay for them to get their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that what they were told about you amounts to nothing, but that you yourself are also careful about observing the law 25 With regard to the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter containing our decision that they should keep themselves from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
So what did Paul do wrong here?
Why is he being targeted? The Jews are upset because they believe Paul is turning the people away from the Law of Moses. Paul is trying to spread the Good news of Jesus to all the world. Other than Jesus no one has done more to serve God’s kingdom in the new testament than Paul. I just want to remind everyone that is eventually killed for his ministry. He is beheaded.
Paul had just spent 7 days helping Gentiles purify themselves before God. To me there is nothing greater than helping someone move closer to God. However the Jews from Asia didn't see it that way. Paul was defiling the temple because he brought people who are far away from God inside this sacred place. They Laid Hands on him-used of seizing one to lead him off as a prisoner. They carried him away as a prisoner.
29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.
Gentiles in the temple
Trophimus the Ephesian was a Gentile. He wasn't allowed in the temple because he was unclean according to the Jews. This was enough for the Jews to want to kill Paul. According to our standards today this is pretty harsh.
They took hold of Paul. Have you ever tried to get something away from a dog or a toddler that didn't want to give it to you? It's difficult. They hold it tighter the more you try to get it from them. They took hold of Paul and weren’t going to let go. They dragged him out of the temple and shut the gates behind them. The Jews were trying to kill Paul. Word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.
Tribune-a commander of a thousand men, a military tribune. a cohort-anything wound up or coiled, by ext. a body (of soldiers), i.e.
The soldiers are like wound springs ready to be released.
Don't Grow Weary I think about a verse in Galatians in this situation. Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Paul had every right to be wary in this situation. Instead of Growing weary he pushed harder into obedience. What would you do if you were in Paul’s sandals?
For me It could go 1 of 2 ways. I would do what Peter did when Jesus was being arrested and grab a sword and start chopping or I would go into a downward spiral.
What does Paul do in this suffering? He brags about it. Paul was willing to die to follow Jesus.
2 Corinthians 11:21-29
But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? Are you willing to get a little uncomfortable to be obedient to Jesus?
Acts 21:32-35 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks.
The soldiers showed up and the crowd stopped beating Paul. The soldiers and centurions arrested the man being beaten by the crowd. They ordered him to be bound with that rapper. You know Two Chains. Just kidding. They put him in Shackles. The soldiers tried to get answers about what was going on but everyone kept shouting random stuff. and they couldn’t figure out what was going on.
Uproar- a loud, unpleasant, and prolonged noise.
Have you ever been around children or listened to the song This time for Africa by Shikira.
This is what I think of when I think of a loud, unpleasant and prolonged noise.
35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!”
Because of the Violence of the Crowd-
The crowd was so thirsty for Paul’s blood that the soldiers had to carry Paul away so he wouldn't be murdered right then and there. We are ending on a bit of a cliff hanger here. So tune in next time to see what happens to Paul.
Spoiler but he doesn't get executed just yet.
Identity How do we root ourselves in Jesus and not in the world or the things going on in our lives?
The Berkeley Well Being Institute- In the most general sense, we can define identity as a person's sense of self, established by their unique characteristics, affiliations, and social roles.
Where does your sense of self come from?
2 Corinthians 5:17
So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away-look, what is new has come!
The thing about roots is that they provide stability and nourishment. When our identity is in who Jesus says we are we are rooted in a firm foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
The same temple that Paul was accused of defiling because he brought Gentiles into it. The dwelling place of God is no longer this someone built. It is The Children of God. I have a lot of unique characteristics, but none more so than being New in Christ.
I will lean into my identity in Jesus and not be tainted by what others think of me.
I will keep obedience as my priority before pleasing people.
I will keep pressing into what God is doing and not be sidetracked by the world this week.