Chapter Twenty-One — Part Four: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 01/08/2023

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 21:27-39

1. Arrested.
a. Acts 21:27 NKJV — Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him,
b. Paul publicly fulfilled all the rituals of the vow to try to appease the legalistic Christian Jews.
c. According to their own Law, Paul should have been safe in the temple, but the Jews violently attacked him there.
d. They claimed to have a zeal for the temple but profaned it by accosting Paul there.
e. The Jews from Asia hated Paul with a passion and had tried multiple times to kill him.
f. Acts 21:28 NKJV — crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”
g. They hated Paul so much; they did not care to find out the truth.
h. These Jews had rejected Jesus and the Gospel, and now they planned to kill Paul, who was merely a messenger of the Gospel.
i. Jesus told us: And you shall be hated by all on account of my Name. But he who has persevered to the end, this one shall be kept safe and sound and rescued from danger and destruction (Matt. 10:22 Wuest).
j. Acts 21:29 NKJV — (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
k. It was strictly forbidden for a Gentile to enter the inner court of the temple.
l. They had seen an Ephesian, a Gentile, in the city with Paul and presumed that he came with Paul into the temple.
m. Acts 21:30 NKJV — And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.
n. They had no legitimate case against Paul, so they stirred up a mob against him with false accusations.
o. They dragged him out and shut the doors.
p. They were wicked and unreasonable men.
q. They worshiped the temple, instead of the God of the temple.
r. They claimed that the temple was holy, yet in their hearts they were not holy before God.
s. They accused Paul of breaking the very laws for which they, in practice, had no respect.

2. Rescued by the Enemy.
a. Acts 21:31 NKJV — Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
b. They had no legitimate reason to prosecute Paul and they knew it, so in their demonic hatred, they sought to kill him as soon as possible by beating him to death.
c. Chief captain; commander (Greek chiliarchos) — a Roman commander of 1,000 men.
d. Acts 21:32 NKJV — He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
e. The commander of the garrison took soldiers and centurions and ran down to quell the riot.
f. Only when the Jews saw the Roman authorities did they stop beating Paul.
g. They knew they could not justify their actions.
h. Acts 21:33 NKJV — Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done.
i. The commander was not so much concerned with saving Paul, as he was in restoring order.
j. He bound Paul with two chains, each one attached to one of two soldiers.
k. He wasn’t prepared to release Paul yet but wanted to first find out who he was and what he had done.
l. From this moment on, Paul was a captive.
m. Never again, would he be a free man.
n. Acts 21:34 NKJV — And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks.
o. The mob did not really know why they were there and shouted out contradictory information.
p. Acts 21:35-36 NKJV — When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!”
q. Away (Greek airō) — to raise up; elevate; lift up; to remove; to bear away what has been raised, carry off; to move from its place; to take from among the living, either by a natural death, or by violence; cause to cease.
r. They stopped beating him, but as he was carried away by the soldiers, they still thronged around him, screaming for him to be killed.

3. Mistaken Identity.
a. Acts 21:37 NKJV — Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I speak to you?” He replied, “Can you speak Greek?
b. Paul composed himself and humbly asked the commander if he could speak to him.
c. The commander was taken by surprise, because he did not expect this “troublemaker” to be an educated man, who spoke Greek.
d. Acts 21:38 NKJV — Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?”
e. The commander had assumed him to be a troublemaker like the Egyptian who had previously stirred up a rebellion in Jerusalem, and then escaped into the wilderness.
f. Acts 21:39 NKJV — But Paul said, “I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people.”
g. Tarsus was not an unknown, insignificant, or ignoble city.
h. It was a prominent, wealthy, and free city in the Roman empire, with academic schools that rivaled Athens and Alexandria.
i. Then Paul begged the commander to be allowed to speak to the people.