Daily Devotional: Friday 5th Juneby William Moody
21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
Paul and the Roman Tribune
22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips,1 Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
Or when they had tied him up with leather strips
The Jewish crowd were happy to listen to Paul until he spoke of his ministry to the Gentiles (v21-22). A blind sectarianism was preventing them from accepting the Gospel. The devil can use many loves that people have, including a national pride, to prevent them from accepting fully God’s truth.
The people had moved beyond a position in which they would be rational and listen to logical teaching (v23). We all need to be careful that anger does not prevent us from receiving God’s truth and leading.
As Paul is taken to be flogged he uses the law to defend himself (v24-29). Suffering for the Gospel will happen, but we are not to be looking for it. We must be as harmless as dove and as wise as serpents, using lawful means to avoid suffering. We must not have a martyrs complex looking to suffer. Some people share the gospel in a very ungracious manner and get a reaction which they put down to persecution, but is in fact just a result of them being rude. Let’s seek to share the Gospel of Christ with the wisdom and grace of Christ.
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