The cat among the pigeons- Thursday, 7th Week of Easter- Acts 22:30; 23:6-11

Paul arrives in Jerusalem to be convinced by James to show some sort of token appreciation for the Jewish Law. A number of Jews in Jerusalem had become Christians yet they continued to follow the Mosaic Law and look upon Paul as one who has betrayed the Jewish Law and people by making concessions for the Gentiles who embraced Christ without first embracing the Jewish law and customs.

Relenting to what seems to be a minor rite of purification (shaving one’s head), Paul enters the temple to offer sacrifice. Unfortunately the Jews from Asia, who had never seen eye to eye with Paul on his missionary journeys, now spot him in the temple accusing him of teaching against the law. But to fuel this fire they falsely accuse him of bringing Greeks into the inner court of the temple, a crime punishable by death.

 A riot breaks out and Paul’s life is only spared by the arrival of the tribune and a Roman cohort. Paul is bound in chains and taken to barracks only to be followed by an enraged mob of Jews baying for his blood in words that similarly condemned Jesus. The tribune too mistakes Paul for an Egyptian who had recently stirred up a revolt, leading four thousand assassins into the wilderness.

So Paul reveals his identity; He is a Jew from Tarsus (notice he reveals his Roman citizenship much later, like a trump card pulled out of a pack). Paul asks to address the Jews for even now he wants them to be won over for the sake of Christ. Having been permitted to address the mob he testifies publically to his past and present, telling them of his conversion and how he was sent to the Gentiles to evangelize. But the very word Gentile was enough to trigger the Jews, like a stone to a hive; they rush out buzzing mad with not just with the intention to sting Paul but to kill him.

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