Acts 21: 27-36

When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!”

Understanding And Applying the Text

Paul had agreed to pay the expenses of four men who had taken a Nazarite vow. Paul was purifying himself along with them. This was a seven day process. Near the end of the seventh day some Jews, visiting from Asia, recognized Paul. They recognized him while he was in the temple. And they started a riot. It is clear these men were enemies of Christ.

The irony is Paul was going through the ceremonial purification and rite to pacify the Jews. He was showing he was a good Jew.

They cried for help as if they were in danger. They called for help as if God needed them to defend His temple. They showed their great hatred for Paul. They hated Paul for preaching forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ.

They assumed Paul had brought a Gentile in the temple court. They did not see a Gentile in the temple court. They assumed it. They may have even believed it was true. But rather than test their assumption they jumped to a conclusion. Here is another irony. They violated the law they purported to defended. According to the law they needed witnesses. But of course there were none. There were none because Paul had not brought a Gentile into the temple courtyard.

They grabbed Paul and drug him out of the temple. Immediately the temple gates were shut. They closed the temple gates to prevent any further violation of the temple.

The entire city got involved. It is possible to be religious but not godly. Here is a good example. They had a lot of emotion. There were a lot of feelings. But there were no facts. The emotions were so high they were attempting to beat Paul to death.

It is possible to allow ourselves to fall into this same trap. But Christianity a religion of facts no emotions. There really was a historical Jesus. He was born of a virgin. He was crucified dead and buried. He did rise from the dead for our justification. Christianity is not a feel-good religion. It is a religion based on facts, not emotion. If Jesus did not die on a cross there is no reason to be a Christian. If Jesus did not rise for the dead there is no reason to be a Christian. If Jesus was not the Son of God and the Son of Man there is no reason to be a Christian.

Too often are we allow ourselves to get worked into an emotional frenzy. We stop thinking. When we stop thinking we start doing Satan’s work for him.

These people were in a frenzy. They did not know the accusations against Paul. But they believed they were standing up for God. Say what? How does that make sense? They were violating God’s law to show how much they loved God’s law?

It is easy to sit back and point fingers yet we are often guilty of some sin. Let us pray for forgiveness. Let us pray for wisdom. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our heads over our emotions.

News of the riot reached the Roman commander. Rome charged him with keeping the peace. These people were violating the peace. He took soldiers and ran to the commotion. When the crowd saw them they stopped beating Paul. He tried to find out was Paul had done. But the crowd proved they had no idea. Some shouted one thing and some shouted another.

Even though the crowd could not agree on what Paul had done they agreed Paul should die. Think about that. “I don’t know what he has done But I am sure he did something. So let’s kill him.”

Paul has convicted of nothing. Paul was innocent. In fact, Paul was trying to appease the Jews. that did him a lot of good.

The crowd was so emotional, so violent the soldiers had to carry Paul do get him into their barracks. All the while the mob was yelling “Away with him!” In other words, “Let’s kill him. Don’t know what he did but let’s kill him.”

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