The Apostle Paul: Paul Asks to Speak to the People.

37 “As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying:” (Acts 21:37–40)

Upon his arrest in Jerusalem by the Romans, Paul asked the Roman tribune, ““May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek?” The tribune known as Claudius (Acts 23:26), was genuinely surprised by Paul’s excellent use of the Greek language. This would be an indication to the tribune that the apostle was more than he appeared.

Claudius than began interrogating Paul, in order to ascertain exactly who he was. The tribune asked, “Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?”

During the administration of Governor Felix (Acts 23:23-25), a terrorist group, the Sicarii, engaged in the assassinations of Jewish leaders while being friendly to the Romans. Their name came from the Greek word for dagger (sica), which they concealed in the long, flowing robes. Claudius perhaps suspected Paul of being a leader of this terrorist organization.

Paul responded to the tribune by saying, ““I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” Paul’s speech and demeanor clearly displayed that he was not a desperate criminal. He asked Claudius if he would allow him to speak to the crowd.

And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying:”  

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Facing the crowd, Paul motions for silence. The crowd, prevented by the soldiers from harming Paul, grows quiet to hear what he will say, and becomes even more respectful when they hear him speaking in the Hebrew language. So Paul calls on his fellow Jews to hear his ‘defense’ of his work as an apostle to the Gentiles.”   

Paul’s arrest was perhaps a time of mourning for his colleagues and friends. It was a time of rejoicing by his enemies. However, the sovereign and providential God of the universe meant it for good. It would be, while in Roman custody, that Paul would eventually reach the capital of the empire and be the instrument God used to touch many lives.

Take heart, while in the midst of your circumstances. You never know how God will use you: not in spite of, but through the providential circumstances of life.

Soli deo Gloria!  

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