Question: What to expect when others are against your words?
21 Then He (Jesus in the vision) said to me,
‘Depart, for I will send you
far from here
to the Gentiles.’”
22 And they listened to him until this word,
and then they raised their voices
“Away with such a fellow from the earth, for
he is not fit to live!”
23 Then, as they cried out and
tore off their clothes and
threw dust into the air,
24 the commander ordered him
to be brought into the barracks,
and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.
In summary, Paul was being beaten by the Jews, the Roman soldiers saved him and brought him away, but Paul asked to speak to the people. Paul told the Jews his story of conversion, but when they heard that Jesus sent Paul to the Gentiles, they would not hear him any more.
Are we around Prejudiced people?
The people were listening to Paul, but once he mentioned that Jesus told him to go preach to the Gentiles, they would not hear him any more. The Jews obviously were deeply prejudiced against the Gentiles. In their minds, there is no way possible that God could send Paul to preach to the Gentiles. However, we know from Old Testament scriptures that it was foretold that the Gentiles would seek the “Root of Jesse”, the Messiah.
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.
I personally have never seen that much prejudice in my lifetime. I remember when my friends, Mike and Julie, went to serve in Africa for a year, I heard a few non-Christians think it was “stupid”, but I’m not sure if their comments were motivated by prejudice. But I suspect there are many missionaries out there who have been criticized for serving in a foreign land due to prejudice.
But as Pastor Brad says, we are all one race, the human race. People around the world need the gospel just as much as we. I praise God that he gave missionaries the courage to go and serve in foreign lands.
What to expect when they are against your words?
The other thing that stands out in this passage is their reaction to Paul’s words. Wow, how extreme the Jews were against Paul!! “22 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air,”
Have you ever seen that much hate? I’ve seen people get really mad before when I’ve shared Jesus with them or I’ve pointed out a scripture to which they were sensitive, but I’ve never seen that much anger that they want to kill you. However, I remember only on two occasions that people expressed their anger toward me when I tried to witness to them, but in general, most people are patient to listen. I’ve also seen on one occasion a person really angry when I pointed out a scripture that they were dealing with. I knew, that if they obeyed that scripture, it would change their life. But, people are against change, especially when obeying a scripture will change who they think they are. Anger will swell up in these people. But thank God I’ve never seen the rage that Paul experienced from his own Jewish brothers.