5 July Acts 22:1-29

5 July. Paul addresses his fellow Jews and causes an uproar

"Paul said, 'Friends, fellow Jews, listen to my defence to you.' When the Jews heard him speaking the Jewish language, they became very quiet."

"Paul said, 'I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in the country of Cilicia, but I grew up in this city [Jerusalem]. I was a student of Gamaliel, who carefully taught me everything about the [Jewish] law of our ancestors. I was very serious about serving God, just as all of you here today.'"

"I persecuted the people who follow the Way of Jesus, and some of them were even killed... The high priest and the whole council of Jewish elders [the Sanhedrin]… gave me letters to the Jewish brothers in Damascus. So I was going there to arrest these people..."

"At about noon when I came near to Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed all around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' I asked 'Who are you, Lord?' The voice said, 'I am Jesus from Nazareth whom you are persecuting.'..."

"'I could not see, because the bright light had made me blind, So my companions led me into Damascus. There a man named Ananias came to me... He stood by me and said, "Brother Saul, see again!" Immediately I was able to see him.'"

"'He said, "The God of our ancestors chose you long ago to know his plan, to see the Righteous One and to hear words from him. You will be his witness to all people, telling them about what you have seen and heard... Get up, be baptised and wash your sins away, trusting in him to save you."'"

"'Later, when I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple, and I saw a vision... I saw the Lord saying to me, 'Hurry! Leave Jerusalem now! The people here will not accept the truth about me.'... the Lord said to me, 'Leave now, I will send you far away to the non-Jewish people.'"

"The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they began shouting, 'Kill him! Get him out of the world! He should not be allowed to live!' They shouted, threw off their coats [in anger], and threw dust into the air [in a rage]."

"Then the commander ordered the soldiers to take Paul into the army building [the Antonia Fortress] and beat him... Paul said to an officer nearby, 'Do you have the right to beat a Roman citizen who has not been proven guilty?' When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and reported it..."

"The commander came to Paul and said, 'Tell me, are you really a Roman citizen?' He answered, 'Yes'. The commander said, 'I paid a lot of money to become a Roman citizen.' But Paul said, 'I was born a citizen.'"

"The men who were preparing to [beat and] question Paul moved away from him immediately. The commander was frightened because he had already tied Paul [in chains], and Paul was a Roman citizen."

          (Acts 22:1-29)

 

 

Paul spoke to the Jews in Hebrew from the top of the steps outside the Antonia Fortress. He told the story of his early life to the crowd, and how he persecuted the followers of ‘The Way’ (the early name for the followers of Jesus).

When he told them that the risen Lord Jesus – 'the Righteous One' (another name for the Christ or Messiah) (Acts 22:14) – appeared to him and sent him to preach to the Gentiles, the Jews exploded in uproar.

The Roman commander ordered Paul to be taken into the Antonia Fortress, flogged and questioned. As the soldiers prepared to flog him, Paul revealed to the centurion that he was a Roman citizen (and therefore could not be flogged or imprisoned under Roman law without a fair trial).

The commander was alarmed when he realised that he had put Paul – a Roman citizen – in chains. So, the next day, he released Paul and ordered the Jewish council (the Sanhedrin) to appear before him in the courtyard outside the fortress.

Tomorrow we'll discover what Paul said to them.

The photo shows an aerial view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (by Avram Graicer).

You can read more about Paul's defence before the Jewish crowds @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/paul-addresses-the-crowds/


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