Monday, June 25, 2012
We left Paul on the steps of the barracks, in chains but addressing the rioting Jerusalemites. In this speech he tells his story: he was a student of Gamaliel, he was educated and trained in the Law. He tells of his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and his healing through Ananias and his baptism. He tells of how he was sent by Jesus to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. At the mention of the Gentiles, the crowd, once again, goes crazy, shouting, throwing dirt in the air, tearing their cloths, etc. The Tribune takes Paul into the Praetorium and orders Paul to be examined by flogging. When he is tied up and the flogging is about to begin Paul asks the Centurion if it is legal to flog a Roman citizen without cause. In Roman times a person could obtain citizenship through several means: 1) your parents were Roman Citizens; 2) you bribed the right officials and it was conferred to you; 3) you performed a great service to the Empire and it was conferred on you. Paul’s admission that he was born a citizen of the Empire immediately changes how they treat him.