Read: Acts 21:27-40
Paul is no stranger to angry mobs or even beatings or imprisonment. So, we shouldn’t be surprised that things turn ugly for Paul even before the week of his purification was over. Luke tells us some Jews from the Roman province of Asia stir up trouble for Paul. Their accusations were that Paul brought a Gentile into the temple courts and was teaching against their law and customs. You get a lot of people together in a hurry and feed their emotion with propaganda violence is not far off. Murder is brewing. These Jews are so worked up and angry that they have one goal and that is to rid the earth of the apostle. When it looks like the end for Paul, Luke tells us of Paul’s unlikely rescue from the commander of the Roman troops comes to his rescue. Assuming that Paul was a radical Jewish rabble rouser, he is chained and about to be put into the barracks when Paul asks for permission to address the angry mob.
I want to draw a comparison here between Jesus and Paul. Both told their followers that they were going to go to Jerusalem. Both knew the pending danger. Both received warmly at first on the first arrival in Jerusalem. Both were accused falsely. Both were arrested before the end of week. Both were beaten. Both were bound. Both were handed over to Gentiles. I am sure Paul was aware of the similarity that existed as he stood in Jerusalem, bloodied and bruised. I am even more sure that the whole time that Paul was being beaten and falsely accused that he was praying and focusing on Jesus. In those moments of such overwhelming circumstances where we have our focus and where we place our trust are of vital importance.
How do you typically handle painful trials? Do you endure them with your focus on Christ or do you sour and gripe and grumble about your miserable condition. There is a real temptation in the midst of a storm to complain. But, in the midst of that storm there is also an opportunity for growth and grace if you would just focus on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. His name is Immanuel, He is God with us. Don’t forget that when you are facing a giant of some kind. The God that tumbles giants hasn’t changed.