The Jewish mob was horrified at the idea of Gentiles being invited into God’s kingdom (304)! They all began tearing their clothes & throwing dust in the air & crying out in rage: “Paul is not fit to live! Paul must die!”
The Roman commander quickly intervened. He ordered Paul to be brought into the barracks, intending to torture him until he confessed to whatever he had done to enrage the mob. But as they began binding him to be tortured, Paul was prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask the nearest soldier, “Is it lawful for you to torture an uncondemned Roman citizen?”
Knowing that it was totally unlawful to torture an uncondemned Roman citizen, the soldier immediately warned his commander. The commander came & asked Paul: “Is this true? Are you in fact a citizen of Rome?” When Paul said that was so, the commander was skeptical; “I had to pay a huge amount to obtain my Roman citizenship,” he said.
Paul surprised the Roman commander when he replied that he had obtained his citizenship by birth. Immediately, the commander had Paul unbound; he was definitely concerned by this unexpected turn of events.
But he still needed to get to the bottom of things; he still needed to know exactly why the Jews were so violently accusing Paul. So on the next day he convened a meeting including Paul & the Jewish religious leaders.
Paul began to speak first, saying “Men & brothers, I have a clear conscience before God.”
Immediately, the Jewish high priest ordered an aide to strike Paul on the mouth. Paul responded angrily, “How dare you presume to judge me according to the law of Moses, when you violate the law of Moses by having me struck in this way?”
The aide then angrily replied, “How dare you challenge the authority of the high priest?”
Paul was immediately submissive, saying, “I didn’t realize that he was the high priest. I understand that the law of Moses says, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'”
God, please help me to love being humbled in Your service.
(304) Acts 22:22-23:5