The Story of His Church List

Paul's Arrest

The day after Paul arrived in Jerusalem he went to the elders of the church to tell them about his work. He told how God had worked through him among the Gentiles.

The elders glorified God. Then they said, "You see, brother, many thousands of Jews believe in and still keep the Law of Moses. They think that you tell the 

Jews in other countries to pay no attention to the Law of Moses. What shall we do ? The people will find out you are here." Finally the elders decided that Paul should prove to the Jewish believers that he honored the Law of Moses. For this reason Paul went to the temple and performed the ceremony of cleansing as Moses had commanded.

About a week later Jews from Asia Minor recognized Paul, for he had taught in their synagogue about Christ. They had not accepted his teaching. They hated him because he taught that Gentiles could become the people of God without keeping all the Jewish rules. To arouse the people, they shouted, "This is the man who teaches men everywhere against the Jews and the Law and the temple. He has even brought disgrace to the temple by bringing Greeks here."

Because they had seen Paul in the city with two Greeks, they assumed that he had brought them into the temple too. The old enemies of Jesus joined the mob and rushed to seize Paul. They pulled Paul out of the temple and shut the doors. While they beat him someone ran to the Roman captain and reported the trouble.

The captain took soldiers and ran to find out what was happening. When he got through the crowd, he commanded that Paul be bound with two heavy chains. Then he asked the crowd, "Who is he and what has he done?" Some cried one thing and some another. The captain could not hear in the noise of the angry mob. He led Paul away to the castle where prisoners were kept. The mob followed crying, "Away with him!"

Because the soldiers were afraid the people would tear Paul in pieces, they picked him up and carried him on their shoulders to the stairs of the castle. At the top of the stairs Paul asked the captain, "May I speak to you?" Granted permission Paul said, "I am a Jew of Tarsus. I beg you, let me speak to the people." And the captain gave his permission.

Standing at the top of the stairs Paul motioned to the angry crowd. When they were quiet, he spoke to them in Hebrew. The Jews loved this language and they listened closely.

Paul began by telling them about himself. "I am a Jew born in Tarsus, but I was brought up here in Jerusalem. Gamaliel taught me the strictness of the Law. I was just as eager to follow God's way as you are. For a time I even persecuted the believers, binding them, putting them in prison, and having some killed. 

The high priest and the rulers know this is true, for they gave me letters of permission to arrest the believers who had fled to Damascus. "On the way to Damascus a great light from heaven shone around me. As I fell to the ground I heard a voice saying, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' Then I answered, 'Who are you?' And the voice said, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you persecute.' Those who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear the words.

"The Lord told me to wait at Damascus until he showed me what I was to do. I could not see, but my friends led me into the city. There Anani'as came to me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight,' and my eyes were opened. Ananias said that I was chosen to be a witness of Jesus Christ to all men of what I had seen and heard. Then he baptized me in the name of the Lord.

"When the Jews at Jerusalem wanted to kill me for believing in Jesus, the Lord told me, 'Depart, for I will send you to the Gentiles.' "

When the people heard Paul mention the Gentiles, they would listen no more. They shouted, "Away with this fellow from the earth. He is not fit to live." The mob waved their cloaks and threw dust into the air.

The chief captain commanded that Paul be brought into the castle and beaten so he would tell what he had done when they questioned him.

As they tied Paul for the beating, he asked, "Is it lawful for you to beat a Roman citizen who has not been found guilty?"

When the chief captain heard this, he was afraid. He asked, "Tell me, are you a Roman?"

"I am," Paul answered. The chief captain then told his soldiers not to harm Paul, but to give him special care.

The next day Paul was brought before the chief rulers of the Jews. The captain noticed that even the Jewish rulers did not agree about what to do with Paul. Some wanted to set him free, and others insisted that he be put to death. The rulers caused so much excitement and uproar that the captain had his soldiers take Paul away.

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