When the Apostle Paul arrived in Jerusalem his last time, he received a mixed reception. The Christians warmly received him, while others wanted to kill him. The result was an angry mob, ensuing riot, and hasty arrest. Why was the Apostle arrested? It seems the authorities were not sure themselves. Looking at this account in the book of Acts, Dr. Sproul reminds us how Christians may suffer for their allegiance to Christ. R.C.Sproul
Act 21:37 And as Paul was about to be brought into the castle, he saith unto the chief captain, May I say something unto thee? And he said, Dost thou know Greek?
Act 21:38 Art thou not then the Egyptian, which before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins?
Act 21:39 But Paul said, I am a Jew, of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and I beseech thee, give me leave to speak unto the people.
Act 21:40 And when he had given him leave, Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with the hand unto the people; and when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew language, saying,
Acts 21:40 Notes from A. T. Robinson RWP When he had given him leave
(epitrepsantos autou). Genitive absolute of aorist active participle of the same verb epitrepō.
Standing on the stairs (hestōs epi tōn anabathmōn). Second perfect active participle of histēmi, to place, but intransitive to stand.
Dramatic scene. Paul had faced many audiences and crowds, but never one quite like this. Most men would have feared to speak, but not so Paul. He will speak about himself only as it gives him a chance to put Christ before this angry Jewish mob who look on Paul as a renegade Jew, a turncoat, a deserter, who went back on Gamaliel and all the traditions of his people, who not only turned from Judaism to Christianity, but who went after Gentiles and treated Gentiles as if they were on a par with Jews. Paul knows only too well what this mob thinks of him.
Beckoned with the hand (kateseise tēi cheiri). He shook down to the multitude with the hand (instrumental case cheiri), while Alexander, Luke says (Act_19:33), “shook down the hand” (accusative with the same verb, which see). In Act_26:1 Paul reached out the hand (ekteinas tēn cheira).
When there was made a great silence (pollēs sigēs genomenēs). Genitive absolute again with second aorist middle participle of ginomai, “much silence having come.” Paul waited till silence had come.
In the Hebrew language (tēi Ebraidi dialektōi). The Aramaean which the people in Jerusalem knew better than the Greek. Paul could use either tongue at will. His enemies had said in Corinth that “his bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible” (2Co_10:10). But surely even they would have to admit that Paul’s stature and words reach heroic proportions on this occasion. Self-possessed with majestic poise Paul faces the outraged mob beneath the stairs.
|Paul's Defense in Jerusalem|
Paul’s Defense in Jerusalem ch 22:1-29
1. Personal experience is convincing. His background in Judaism, His encounter with the Living Christ on the Road to Damascus; His blindness healed by Ananias;
The personal experience of a devout, humble Christian who has been at one time an opponent of
the Gospel, but has been converted and convinced of its truth and power, is usually the most
convincing evidence which one can offer to worldly men of the reality of the regenerating power
of Christ on heart and life. This was the kind of evidence which Paul gave to the Jews. His past
record was known to the officials and others at Jerusalem.
2. The call of God comes first in our lives. His commission to be Christ’s witness to all he had seen and heard.
With Paul the call of God took precedence over personal desires. At first, Paul did not have a
personal desire to go to the Gentiles. He had a hatred of them before his conversion. He had a
desire to stay with the Jews in Jerusalem after his conversion. While he was in the temple the call
of God came to him to make haste and get out of Jerusalem. Even then he protested; he replied to
God that he had persecuted the Christians and consented to the death of Stephen, and was
evidently about to request the Lord that he might remain and testify at Jerusalem that he might
counteract what he had done against the Christians. But the Lord told him: “Depart: for I will
send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21). <Baptistbiblebeliever.com>
3. God gives calmness and self-possession in the midst of danger.
One of Frederick the Great’s leading generals was Hans Joachim von Zieten. He was a Christian
and not ashamed of his faith. Once he declined an invitation to his royal master’s table, because
on that day he wished to present himself at the table of his Lord and Master Jesus Christ. It was
the day on which the ordinance was to be observed. The next time he appeared at the palace the
king, whose infidel tendencies were well known, made use of some profane expressions about
the holy communion of the Lord’s Supper; and the other guests laughed at his remarks.
General Zieten shook his gray head solemnly, stood up, saluted the king, and then said with a
firm voice: “Your Majesty knows well, that, in war, I have never feared any danger, and
everywhere have boldly risked my life for you and my country. But there is one above us who is
greater than you and me - greater than all men; He is Saviour and REDEEMER, who has died
also for your Majesty, and has dearly bought us all with His own blood. This Holy One I can
never allow to be mocked or insulted; for on Him repose my faith, my comfort, and my hope in
death. In the power of this faith, your brave army has courageously fought and conquered. If
your Majesty undermines this faith, you undermine, at the same time, the welfare of the State. I
salute your Majesty.”
This brave confession of faith by General Zieten made a powerful impression upon the king. He
felt he had been wrong in his attack on the faith of his general, and he was not ashamed to
acknowledge it. He gave his right hand to General Zieten and placing his left upon the old man’s
shoulder, said with emotion, “O happy Zieten! how I wish I could also believe it! I have the
greatest respect for you. This shall never happen again.” The king then rose from the table and
dismissed the other guests and invited General Zieten into his cabinet and they had a long heart
to heart talk.
4. Paul teaches us to have a supreme desire to win men to Christ.