During Paul’s time in Israel, the law was that capital punishment was reserved for the Roman government, except for one condition. The Jewish religious leaders could execute a prisoner if the prisoner desecrated the Temple. Now Paul did not do anything to desecrate the Temple but since this was the only way to kill him they manufactured an accusation that he did.
Even though it was not the law that inviting a gentile into the temple was a capital punishment crime, their accusation that Paul had done this was a way to extended the requirements for capital punishment to Paul by association. That is, he brought a gentile into the Temple and the Gentile desecrated it so, therefore, Paul caused the Temple to be desecrated and so we can kill him. To put it simply they were out to take Paul’s life.
This is a tough situation to be in, yet Paul’s heart focused on the mob and desired to see them saved. To this end, he delivered His testimony.
And from this account we find a playbook for how he gave his testimony:
- He accepted the situation was from God.
- He created an opportunity to give his testimony. 21v37 & 40
- He did what he could to create common ground and win his audience. 22v1-5 &12
- He exalted the LORD so that if the people rejected, they were rejecting God, not him. He made it all about God, not him. 22v6-11
- He avoided suffering. (this was a particularly interesting point. 22v25 (The sermon below talks about how Paul didn’t have what the pastor called a ‘martyr complex’)
- Love governed his attitude. Throughout he was focused on what he could do for the mob.
I often listen to sermons to prepare for these posts. These 6 points are from Paul’s Arrest Part Four: the Attitude of Paul by John MacArthur