མཛད་པ། Acts 22:22-30

Acts 22.22-30 w B

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.” And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 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. 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?” 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.” So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 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.

But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them. (Acts 22:22-30)

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Having been tied down for a severe horse-whipping, Paul has waited until now to tell the Roman soldiers that he belongs to a family possessing Roman citizenship.

And because that was just like him being a Party member (gungkhran tangyon), for them to have treated him like this strikes fear into them.

Paul is not flogged, but will be kept under arrest and given his right to a proper trial as a Roman citizen.

མཛད་པ། Acts 22:3-21

Acts 22.3-21 w B

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

“When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” (Acts 22:3-21)

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We read today how Paul told the crowd the manner of his own conversion (Luke has once already described this for us in Chapter 9 verses 1-19).

And the crowd listened until he mentioned the word for non-Jews ‘Gentiles’. At this uproar broke out again. So the tribune, in order to find out the reason, had Paul taken away to use torture on him.

The story continues in the next post.

མཛད་པ། Acts 21:37-22:2

Acts 21.37-22.2 w B

As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying: “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.”And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said: (Acts 21:37 – 22:2)

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Explanation:

The tribune at first thought that Paul was some brigand (jag pa).

Then, when Paul spoke to him in Greek (which was the language of educated people, just as Chinese is spoken in Lhasa, or English in Hong Kong), he thought that Paul must be that rebel from Egypt (ngo log pa) who had raised a guerrilla force to hide in the country and then fight against Rome.*

In answer to the tribune Paul said, ‘No; I am a Jew and a citizen of Tarsus, a free city of the Roman Empire.’

Then in addressing the crowd he was courteous in awaiting permission to speak, and respectful in addressing them both as ‘brother-Jews’, and any of the council members present as ‘fathers’.

The steps were for Paul a platform of opportunity to give witness to Jesus Christ, trusting that the Holy Spirit would give him the words to use, as Jesus has promised (see Luke’s Gospel Chapter 12 verses 11 & 12). Because he spoke using the standard Hebrew dialect (like spyi skad), and not Greek, the crowd listened.

Next time we’ll read his testimony of how Jesus had spoken to him and had appeared in vision to him.

[* They were defeated, but he himself had escaped]