A funny word, isn’t it?
It’s amazing how one little word could change the entire mood of a great mass of people, making them angry enough to kill.
The person who hollered out the word knew it, and so did the one who spoke it.
Religion is like that. All it takes is one little word or deed to incite an entire crowd to violence. Words cause offense to religion. All of us have seen it, and probably even experienced it for ourselves.
But in reality, why is this such a problem?
Do Gentiles have cooties or something? What is it about the idea of a Gentile being in the presence of a Jew which would cause such great discomfort? Such a threat to the practice of Judaism?
That the accusation is not true is irrelevant. That the accusation has power is.
The crowd is incited to kill Paul on this day under the guise Paul has brought a Gentile into the part of the temple courts which are restricted to Jews only.
Forgetting that for the moment, Paul launches into a defense for the ages. For us. For all people. He is unconcerned about what these Jews may do to him. He is more concerned about what he may do FOR them.
Paul’s defense is his personal testimony of exactly how it was he became a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He completely left off a defense of the lies being told about himself – which could have exonerated him – and spoke forth the truth of what these Jews – his own brethren – needed to hear. Even if it killed him.
We must understand this is Paul’s dream audience. Despite the fact they hate him enough to kill him, he loves them enough to die for them. And when he uttered the word that he had been sent to the “Gentiles,” they would. (If only they could.)