Read: Acts 22:22-30
When the crowd hears that Paul was sent to the Gentiles they have had it. Dirt, angry words, and clothing fly. They are ready to have Paul killed. Enough is enough. Once again the Roman soldiers offer protection from death once again, but Paul is not out of the woods. The commander of the soldiers orders Paul to be flogged and then questioned. And just before the flagellum rips into Paul’s back, he asks the solider with the whip “is it legal for you flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty” (Acts 22:25). This caused quite a stir, for Roman citizens were protected by Roman Law from an illegal beating especially without a trial. The commander of the soldiers is summoned and questions Paul about the validity of his citizenship. Maybe Paul had with him some sort of document that stated his citizenship. Whatever the case maybe, Paul was born a Roman citizen (22:28). In those days in the Roman Empire a subject could obtain citizenship through several various means, it could be awarded to a non-citizen for some outstanding service to the Empire, someone could be born into citizenship or it could be purchased for a high price. The commander of the Roman soldiers, had purchased his citizenship, and realizing the danger he was in if he were to continue to with the order to flog Paul, he relents and Paul is unchained for now.
I want you to realize that up to this point in Acts we are shown three different sides of Paul. When we first are introduced to him, he is the persecutor on a mission to wipe the Christian movement off the face of the earth. After his Damascus Road encounter of the resurrected king Jesus, Paul will become the preacher to the Gentiles traveling the Roman Empire proclaiming the message of the gospel to both Jew and Greek. But near the end of his life, chains will take on a special meaning for him, for he will spend a large part of his later years in chains for Christ. Thus we are introduced to Paul the prisoner. Paul uses his various imprisonments to communicate the truth of the gospel and sees his chains in a Roman prison as actually being chained to the plan of God to share the gospel. Nothing would deter Paul from sharing the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, nothing short of death. But, I might add that even after Paul goes home to be with the Lord, his message still shapes our thinking today. His legacy lives on because he was sold out completely to Jesus Christ. Even though Paul talked of his Roman citizenship, his greatest joy came from his heavenly citizenship. Paul knew that his home was above, not this old earth.