Acts 21:34 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.
Acts 21:35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd,
Acts 21:36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!”
Acts 21:37 ¶ As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek?
Acts 21:38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?”
Who is the confused person here?
Paul could be. He was doing some Jewish rituals to fulfill some vows like he had done at least one other time in his life. He was probably enjoying his fellowship with other Christians while completing the Nazirite vows that they were finishing. It was a dedicated time to the Lord like a retreat or a mission trip. Of course, he was surrounded by people that he knew wanted to kill him.
The tribune is like a group of military police on riot patrol. There wasn’t a current riot threat, sort of, if you consider that they were on holy ground of an occupied nation. Occupied by Romans.
But when the riot happened, they hauled Paul off thinking he was an Egyptian assassin. Leading 4,000 assassins. Into the wilderness.
I want to hear that story!
We can learn so much from the way Paul deals with governments and institutions. As far as we know, he didn’t stir up any trouble this whole week! He’s probably been talking to James and the other men that are doing the Nazirite vow. He’s been going to the temple multiple times to pray. It wasn’t until several days had passed that the Jews from Asia had enough and got him into trouble.
And the Romans. Paul could resist and argue with these soldiers that he isn’t doing anything wrong. For all they know, he isn’t. They are just hauling him off to calm down these crowds. Tradition says that Paul will eventually get his head chopped off by a Roman sword. Paul would much rather have Jerusalem ruled by Israelites than Romans. He knew he was going to get arrested and turned over to the Gentiles.
He doesn’t fight with any of this. In the middle of the riot and him getting carried away, he says “Can I talk to you?” I’d love to see the look on the tribune’s face. What the? You speak Greek? We just hauled you out of the Jewish temple where only Jewish men are allowed.
Paul is still bold. He knows that he is in the middle of God’s will. He is doing what he always wanted to do: preach the Gospel to as many people as possible. Even if they are riot police.
You can get the Daily Bible Readings to your inbox via email every day by subscribing on our home page. Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter.