At some point in their Christian walk, each Christian will be called to stand alone.
This is when we discover if our faith is real or not.
It’s easy to be part of a crowd. You have the protection afforded by numbers in many ways. Physically, it can prevent attack. Emotionally, it can provide support. Spiritually, it provides a strength which helps the Christian to stand for what they believe.
But when all that support is stripped away, what happens? Especially in the face of a crowd of a different stripe or faith system – or perhaps a governmental agency?
This is the situation Paul finds himself in on this day. We’ll never know (in this life) the amount of support he may have anticipated. But he received none. (At least none is noted for us.)
Paul went up to the temple courts as instructed by the elders of the Jerusalem church, and promptly a riot broke out as he was recognized by Jews from Asia. They had been angered by Paul presenting the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in Asia, and now they had him dead-to-rights, and in their sights. Had the Romans not prevented it, Paul would have been torn apart by the crowd.
We read of no intervention by the Jerusalem church. Paul stood alone on the steps of the Fortress barracks to address the crowd with his personal testimony, and his description of being commanded by the Lord Jesus to go to the Gentiles incited them further.
Only by properly applying Roman law was Paul able to spare himself from being flogged as an examination of what he had done wrong by the Romans. (Again, no one came to his defense.)
After being imprisoned overnight, Paul again stood alone, as the entire Jewish Sanhedrin was summoned to examine him, and to accuse him of exactly what he had done wrong. (That he had done nothing wrong was beside the point.)
All this time, Paul had no comfort save for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not back up, and he did not retire from the field. He stood forthrightly for what he knew by faith to be true. And then Jesus stood by Paul, because Paul stood by Jesus.