22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Habitual reading of the Bible can make our reading patterns formulaic. Reflecting on the incident of Paul being bound, sometimes after reading this, one will automatically try to figure out the context and why he was bound. However, it is also important to read this in a spiritual light, and be moved by his plight. An inquisitive manner is not the only thing important to our study of the Word. We can first consider not why he was bound but to see a spiritual truth: that we are always accused in the world, blamed and persecuted, as we are not of the world. However as our identity is formed by our salvation in Jesus Christ and adoption into his Kingdom, the world has no hold over us. It cannot torture or defeat us, as Christ has already taken the blame for us.
- V25- Paul asked, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?” When our enemies are accusing us, are we conscious of our heavenly identity?
- The commander was alarmed. Similarly, if we reveal our identity in God, then those without true authority will also be afraid. This is because those who belong to God have true authority than those who have worldly authority. True heavenly authority is more noble and glorious. Without consent, the enemy will not dare attack.
- V28 The centurion said he spent a lot of silver to gain Roman citizenship. Paul said he was born a Roman citizen. Similarly, God gave to us our status as His children, we do not need to pay or work for it. Not even good works can gain this identity. We were born into this identity as Paul was born into his Roman identity, when we were born again. This identity cannot be earned by our own ability.
PRAYING IN FAITH
Pray that our merciful God will give us grace, and share himself through us to those we come into contact with. Bless us with faith, that it may be a shining example of our identity in Christ. Thank Him for meeting all our needs.
For Your Five
Pray that God will bless his servants, that we may be crowned with confidence, bound together in the body of Christ with love. That our salvation will be proudly shown as our adornment, that we may demonstrate Godly qualities and bring glory to Him with our identities.
For Our Church
In the name of Jesus Christ, pray to God that our church will be safe from temptations and delivered from evil. Pray that those who belong to God will follow his commandments, and bring others to salvation. Pray that the Church is drawn to God’s word as a deer pants for the water, and lastly, that we will gain our sustenance from Him.