After he was beaten by a Jewish mob at the Jerusalem temple, Paul was arrested and bound in chains by the commander of the garrison along with Roman soldiers and centurions. As he stood atop the stairs that led to the command post barracks, the chief captain allowed Paul to address his persecutors.
In his address, he revealed his identity as a former Jew from Tarsus who had studied the law under under the teachings of Gamaliel, the “doctor of the law.” Paul also shared his testimony about his encounter with Jesus when on his way to Damascus, also how he was born again of faith in the risen Christ then baptized by Ananias, a devout Christian servant. He concluded his speech by sharing God’s command to Him, that he should focus his ministry on Gentile since Jews would not be receptive to him because of his reputation as a persecutor of Christians.
“22 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” (Acts 22:22)
When they heard Paul’s claim of his divine appointment to ignore the Jews and instead focus on the Gentiles, the Jews were outraged and called for the missionary to be persecuted and punished as a traitor to the Law of Moses.
“23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.” (Acts 22:23-24)
The Jews’ response to Paul’s speech was so severe and furious that it prompted the commander, who did not understand Paul’s exhortation and likely did not speak Hebrew to order further interrogation and torture of the accused in an attempt to expose the truth behind the uproar.
“25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” (Acts 22:25)
A centurion was ordered to carry out the chief captain’s orders, and make sure Paul was bound before he was disrobed and eventually whipped by Roman lictors, strong men whose role was to extract the truth through torture. As he was being prepared for punishment, Paul questioned the legality of the centurion’s actions to scourge a Roman citizen without a trial.
“26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.” 27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” (Acts 22:26-28)
When the commander heard of Paul’s claim that he was a Roman citizen, he assumed that like himself, his Jewish prisoner had bribed his way to citizenship. But, Paul was born a Roman after his father who was a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin and also a Roman citizen.
“29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” (Acts 22:29)
Because he had violated the privileges of Paul, a Roman citizen, the commander became concerned he could now himself be prosecuted. As such, he ordered Paul be brought before the Sanhedrin to be tried by his peers and judged according to both the Roman and Jewish laws. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre