Good morning! Have you ever been in a situation where a misunderstanding turned into a greater ordeal? Sometimes those accounts create a ripple effect with people hearing partial stories, in accurate accounts, and eventually sides are chosen. In our verses last week and this week we are read the outcome of some non-believing Jews speaking against Paul’s message of the Good News, which resulted in an unfortunate situation for Paul. Join me today as we continue reading Acts chapter 21.
30 The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31 As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He immediately called out his soldiers and officers[f] and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.
33 Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34 Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress. 35 As Paul reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him. 36 And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!”” – Acts 21:30-36 NLT
- The accusation against Paul was: “But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs.” (v.21-22)
- The verse – “And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!”“ (v.36), are similar words that the crowd said when Jesus was arrested in Jerusalem (refer to Luke 23:18-21).
It is interesting how the level of anger escalated amongst the Jewish nonbelievers. They were determined to make a point, by killing another person who believed Jesus is the Messiah, the One who came to save us all – to reconcile us back to God and create unity amongst us all.
I guess this is why it is so difficult to see how the church has been divided on the topic of racism, COVID-19, vaccines, face mask, and other issues going on in our country and around the world. It appears the word Christian and believer has been thrown around so much that we have forgotten what it means to be a follower of Christ. The world has glorified opinions, social media, freedom for themselves instead of glorifying God, reading His word and aligning with it, and finding freedom in Christ Jesus.
Sister and brothers, we must examine ourselves and the example we are displaying as followers of Christ. We must remember the reason for our belief in Christ Jesus and share the same love he demonstrates to us toward others. Christ came so that all of our sins can be forgiven, so that we will turn away from our old self and believe, accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, repent and follow Him.
Questions to ponder:
- Who are you following?
- Does what you do or say align with what the Bible says?
- How can you be more Christ like in all your ways?
- Finally, when things are out of your control what steps will you take to align yourself with Christ and focus on Him?
Father God, we thank you for today. We thank you for your gracious love toward us. We thank you and praise you because you never gave up on us. Lord, we desire to follow you in all our ways, but sometimes we struggle like Paul in Romans 7:15-20. Lord forgive us and have mercy on us. Lead us in all our ways. Lord, as we live our lives following you, we know there will be experiences we may encounter because of our faithfulness to you, yet Lord we trust that you will keep us tucked under the shelter of your wings. Lord, help us to be bold and faithful representatives of You, Your word, and what You have called us to do. Lord, we pray for those who are struggling with accusations against them, we pray for those who have been lied on and separated from situations because of those lies or people against them. Lord, we pray that as the holidays draw near that it will be a time where we see you active in our lives in spite of the accusations and separation. Lord, work in the hearts of this nation and world to bring healing and dismantle the barriers that divide it. Lord, please protect the innocent, rescue victims, heal the broken, give rest to the weary, heal the ill, and continue to send the message of salvation throughout the world. In Jesus name, amen.
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