If the false accusation and dragging Paul out of the temple were not enough, they began beating him, “seeking to kill him” (21:31). Does all this mistreatment stop or even dampen the passion of Paul’s heart? NOT FOR A MOMENT! After the tribune and soldiers step in to prevent the crowd from carrying out their plan, he sees an opportunity to speak to the crowd under the military protection. With his multi-national background and fluency in Greek and Hebrew, Paul tells the soldiers, “I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia…I beg you, permit me to speak to the people” (21:39). Up to this point it seems that God’s plan in using Paul to proclaim the gospel in Jerusalem was aborted. He is granted permission.
I have been guilty on so many occasions of making excuses for not taking a bold step in proclaiming Christ. I have taken little indicators as signals that I shouldn’t proclaim Jesus when in my heart I knew God’s prompting – I silenced my voice. Not Paul! “Paul, standing on the steps…addressed them in the Hebrew language” (21:40).
God is looking for a few who will take a stand for Him in the most difficult places. God opens doors, not us. Jesus told the church at Philadelphia, “the words of the Holy One, the true One, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens” (Revelation 3:7).