Acts 28:17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.
18 Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.
19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.
20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
In these verses we see the liberty that the Roman soldiers are giving to Paul. Paul was not a political activist. His purpose was to preach the Gospel. Everything he did was in the context of the preaching of the Gospel. We know that Paul was not free to travel anywhere he wanted to. However, even as a prisoner he was not going to be silenced regarding the truth. God shows us throughout the Bible that it is the changed heart that changes the life.
All the protesting we are seeing in our country is just hardening the hearts more of the politicians. There are a few who seem to be siding with the protestors, but most either just ignore it or speak out against it. When God changes the heart of man, that man will have a different perspective on all things. God does an amazing work in the heart of the saved person. The apostle Paul was a living testimony of that amazing work. He was one of many that we read of in the Bible.
We know that during the years of the inquisition, the Catholic authorities had the tongues cut out of some of their prisoners because they would not be quiet about the truth. We know that in our time, the government is trying to shut down the preaching of the Gospel. They are not only trying to stop the preaching of the Gospel, but they are trying to stop anyone who does not agree with them. It is interesting to notice how they twist words and ideas to try to justify their tyrannical ways.
In our text, Paul was given permission to call together the chief of the Jews in Rome. He was going to speak to them about why he was in prison and of the importance of the truth. These Jews needed to know the truth. Paul was under arrest for no crime. He had not done anything against the people. He had not violated the customs of the fathers. He was not following the false teaching of the Pharisees, but they were not following the customs of the fathers. The “fathers” would be a reference to Abraham, Moses, the prophets.
The Jews in Jerusalem opposed him because he taught the truth about Jesus Christ. Paul spoke of the “hope of Israel”. The hope of Israel was the coming of the Messiah. The Old Testament prophets had spoken of that often. The place of His birth was prophesied. The offices He would fulfill was prophesied. The evidences identifying Him were clear. Paul preached openly that Jesus Christ had come and He had laid down His life for the nation of Israel and for the Gentiles as well. The Jews around Jerusalem had rejected Him and did not want anyone speaking the truth about Him. Paul had been delivered into the hands of the Romans for protection against the Jews.
In verse 18 Paul noted that the Romans found nothing worthy of imprisonment in Paul. They also did not find anything worthy of death in him. Paul’s only “crime” was that he did not believe the lies of the Pharisees. He knew all about them. He had been trained as a Pharisee. However, he had been saved and God showed him that the Pharisees’ teaching was false. Paul did not focus on attacking the Pharisees. He focused on teaching the truth and that will expose the lies. He addressed the false teaching as he taught the truth.
In verse 19 Paul stated that he needed to appeal to Caesar to protect himself from the ungodly Jews. Paul had no fight with the Romans. The Pharisees had assumed massive power over the people, even during the time of Christ. They could stir the people up and they could bind the people with their corrupt laws. They had proven the ability to stop the preaching of the Gospel at times. They had tried to shut down Peter and John, but they could not. God protected them. Peter spent time in prison, but God released him from prison and he went right back to preaching the truth.
Paul was familiar with the power that the Pharisees had. He had been one of them. He was there when Stephen was stoned and killed. He had letters from the chief priest to arrest and imprison people of “that way” in Damascus. He had been saved by God. He then experienced the wrath of the Pharisees himself. He was stoned more than once. The Jews did not place those stones gently. They were intent on killing with those stones. However, God spared Paul’s life more than once.
The Roman government did not get involved in the Jewish religious system, as long as the Jews did not cause too much of an uproar. They did not care if some people were killed by the Jews. However, in Paul’s case, God used the Romans to protect Paul so that he could continue to preach the Gospel in other places.
The important point we see in the Scriptures is for God’s people to simply be God’s people. God used Job for an important purpose. Job also needed to learn some important truths regarding God. God used Joseph for important work in Egypt. God used David to show His power and wisdom in the development of the nation of Israel. God directed Daniel and his three friends to influence world powers in their time.
God is still looking to direct His children in our time as our world is pressing toward a one world system. The book of Revelation reveals the rise of Babylon. The pieces are coming together for that rise, now. There will be an economic unity, a political unity, and a religious unity. Klaus Schwab has gained a place of power to draw world leaders together. We have witnessed our PM jet setting to different places this year for various meetings. The world powers are using “climate change” as a tool to unite. They are fools who do not know what they are doing. They think they are so smart. They think they are deceiving the people into bringing in their authoritarian rule. For the most part they are doing just that. There are a few people who understand what is happening. A few of those few really understand what is happening. Those few are the born again Christians who can see God’s had at work in our time.
Those who are saved need to be careful not to get side-tracked by all the noise that is happening. We need to be as Paul was. We need to remember that the hope of man is knowing Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. We need to keep that as our purpose. We can expect to face trouble and persecution just as others in the past have.
Paul was not deterred by that reality. He embraced the call he was given and he fought the good fight of faith. God is willing to lead us if we will humble ourselves and follow Him. The world will not understand. The pseudo Christians will speak against those who are following God. Let us pray for one another and trust God to guide us in the work He has for us in our time.