Friday, August 30, 2013

church and state, part 1

Good evening/morning friends,
In today's reading we enter an interesting part of Paul's journey, which we've had hints of before. Rome is a background player in most of the story. At this point, Roman authority enters the story as peacekeeper between Paul and the Jewish leaders who want to kill him. Like many religious conflicts, this phase of the conflict between Paul and the Jewish leaders begins with a misunderstanding. Paul tried to smooth things over with his fellow Jews by entering fully into religious ritual. They have already seen him with a gentile Christian in Jerusalem and they assume Paul has brought him into the temple, even though he hasn't. In this section Paul does everything he can and it still doesn't work out. Then the Roman military leader steps in to keep the peace. In the pages to come we'll see this develop into an interesting story, but at this point, it's just an officer breaking up a disturbance. Once again, we see that many in the crowd are just there for excitement and don't really know what's going on.
May your weekend be peaceful and joyous,

Acts 21:27-36
27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, who had seen him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd. They seized him, 28shouting, ‘Fellow-Israelites, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place; more than that, he has actually brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.’ 29For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30Then all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut.

31While they were trying to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32Immediately he took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. When they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33Then the tribune came, arrested him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; he inquired who he was and what he had done. 34Some in the crowd shouted one thing, some another; and as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35When Paul came to the steps, the violence of the mob was so great that he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36The crowd that followed kept shouting, ‘Away with him!’

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