The unbelieving world, who essentially stand for nothing but themselves and daily survival, will fall for anything or anyone who comes along with something else that will break up the boredom of their meaningless lives. When they gather in one place, these purposeless humans become a mob that excel in the high jump: They jump to assumptions and conclusions driven by hate, doubt, fear, prejudice and divisiveness in their hearts, minds and souls.
These high jumpers are being easily led by the evil one whose only goal is to use them for his purposes and then throw them away. Divisiveness is the only trick Satan has but he uses it well. He used it in the life of Paul, Peter, John, James and all the other apostles, disciples and followers who were spreading the Good News of Jesus. Jesus, who saved the world of all sins by paying our debt on the cross, taking our punishment, all because of the amazing love God has for His created. Jesus is Truth.
The fallen angel, Satan, forms mob mentality to try to overcome God’s work of spreading the Truth. Satan didn’t win and doesn’t win. He still tries today with skirmishes on the battlefield for our souls, but ultimately Jesus has already won this war. Once we realize the Victor and the Victory, it is much easier to avoid the skirmishes for our souls set before us by the limited power of Satan. Don’t fall for his schemes. Stand for Jesus.
In the temple, separating the court of the Gentiles from the other courts, stood a wall beyond which no Gentile was allowed to go (note Eph. 2:14). On the wall was this solemn inscription: “No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Anyone who is caught so doing will have himself to blame for his ensuing death.”
The Romans had granted the Jewish religious leaders authority to deal with anybody who broke this law, and this included the right of execution. This law plays an important role in what happened to Paul a week after he and the four Nazarites began their purification ceremonies.
Some Jews from Asia saw Paul in the temple and jumped to the conclusion that he had polluted their sacred building by bringing Gentiles past the barricade. It is likely that these Jews came from Ephesus, because they recognized Paul’s friend Trophimus, who came from Ephesus. With their emotions running at full speed, and their brains in neutral, these men argued:
(1) wherever Paul went, his Gentile friends went;
(2) Paul was seen in the temple; therefore, his friends had been in the temple too!
Such is the logic of prejudice. They seized Paul and would have killed him had the Roman guards not intervened in the nick of time. (At least one thousand soldiers were stationed in the Antonia Fortress at the northwest corner of the temple area.) The temple crowd was in an uproar, completely ignorant of what was going on.
Mobs miss the Message.
Friends, have you ever been caught up in mob mentality, assuming the worse while avoiding listening to truth?
ACTS—God’s Actions through His Disciples
Acts 21:27-40, The Message
Paul Under Arrest
27-29 When the seven days of their purification were nearly up, some Jews from around Ephesus spotted him in the Temple. At once they turned the place upside-down. They grabbed Paul and started yelling at the top of their lungs, “Help! You Israelites, help! This is the man who is going all over the world telling lies against us and our religion and this place. He’s even brought Greeks in here and defiled this holy place.” (What had happened was that they had seen Paul and Trophimus, the Ephesian Greek, walking together in the city and had just assumed that he had also taken him to the Temple and shown him around.)
30 Soon the whole city was in an uproar, people running from everywhere to the Temple to get in on the action. They grabbed Paul, dragged him outside, and locked the Temple gates so he couldn’t get back in and gain sanctuary.
31-32 As they were trying to kill him, word came to the captain of the guard, “A riot! The whole city’s boiling over!” He acted swiftly. His soldiers and centurions ran to the scene at once. As soon as the mob saw the captain and his soldiers, they quit beating Paul.
33-36 The captain came up and put Paul under arrest. He first ordered him handcuffed, and then asked who he was and what he had done. All he got from the crowd were shouts, one yelling this, another that. It was impossible to tell one word from another in the mob hysteria, so the captain ordered Paul taken to the military barracks. But when they got to the Temple steps, the mob became so violent that the soldiers had to carry Paul. As they carried him away, the crowd followed, shouting, “Kill him! Kill him!”
37-38 When they got to the barracks and were about to go in, Paul said to the captain, “Can I say something to you?”
He answered, “Oh, I didn’t know you spoke Greek. I thought you were the Egyptian who not long ago started a riot here, and then hid out in the desert with his four thousand thugs.”
39 Paul said, “No, I’m a Jew, born in Tarsus. And I’m a citizen still of that influential city. I have a simple request: Let me speak to the crowd.”
Paul Tells His Story
40 Standing on the barracks steps, Paul turned and held his arms up. A hush fell over the crowd as Paul began to speak. He spoke in Hebrew.
THINK ABOUT IT…
God intervened and saved Paul so He could tell the Truth by telling His Story.
God will still intervene in our lives. He is on our side.
God seeks those whose hearts are completely His, who know Truth and are willing to tell His story.
God’s Holy Spirit will give us exactly the right words to say, when to say it and how to say it to those willing to make the most of every opportunity.
Are we willing?
You are amazing in all ways. There is no one like you, none at all. Why would I listen to anyone else but you? You are God, Creator of all, who desires to love us beyond our wildest dreams, who cares about us and is willing to stoop low to hear us when we pray. Lord, how beautiful this thought alone is to me in a world who rarely listens.
Thank you for saving my soul, lifting my Spirit, guiding my thought life, growing your character in me with loving forgiveness, mercy and grace. There are not enough words of gratitude that I can give you. But one thing is for sure. I will run from the mobs of assumptions and always seek Truth. You are Truth. Help me to make the most of every opportunity to tell The Truth of You.
In Jesus Name, Amen