21:31 While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran down to them; and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up and took hold of him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done. 34 But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 When he got to the stairs, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob; 36 for the multitude of the people kept following them, shouting, “Away with him!”
Jesus said "By their fruits you will know them."
He also said "He that abides/remains in Me will bear much fruit".
He also said "The fruit of My Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
Place yourself behind one of the massive pillars in the temple as a silent observer. You see Paul arrive with some other men. Their heads are shaved. They make their way quietly and unassuming toward one of the priests. Were it not for their shaved heads they wouldn't even have caught your eye. Suddenly a shout rings out and reverberates through the temple. You turn to see an accusing finger pointed toward Paul.
The accusation? "He is the one who has been traveling through Asia teaching people to disregard the Law!"
Were the accusation made in a vacuum by a lone voice nothing would have come of it. However that wasn't the case. Rumours have been circulating for months, even years. Gossip has done it's destructive work. No one has any firsthand knowledge of Paul or his teachings but they all believe themselves experts. They have all discussed him and his heresy at potluck, in the marketplace, at the well, and in the synagogues. He is a faceless infamous celebrity. His legend long preceded his arrival. As the accusation pierced the air all eyes turned toward him. Finally their was flesh and bone for them to connect to their fury and all hell broke loose. So quick and violent was the uprising that Roman soldiers were immediately dispatched to manage the chaos.
Yesterday I had to correct my daughter. She made a statement that shocked me. We were driving home and somehow the looming US election came up and stated as if it were fact that both Trump and Clinton are evil. She is 14. She has never seen either of them in person. We have no television so she hasn't been getting a steady diet from that source either. Yet between the discussions at school and the general discussions going on around her she has become convinced that people she does not know are evil.
Are we truly aware of how easily we form strong opinions about things and subjects and even people we know little to nothing about? Are we aware how dangerous uninformed opinions can be?
I have no interest in making a statement about either candidate but for the theme of what we're discussing today I do need to make this observation. Clinton is far from new on the political landscape. She was the first lady for 8 years and although her husband had some personal issues he did a very respectable job as president. Since then she has run for president and served as the secretary of state and various other high profile roles. In all that time she was generally respected. Now over the past 18 or so months she has become a villain. The common mantra is that no matter who gets elected the world is doomed. Do you know why most believe this story? Because the media supports one candidate or the other and both sides are spinning the same story. The other option is evil and of you vote for him/her we are doomed.
Highly manipulative ads are pounding the airwaves and television screens and we hear and see and form strong opinions based on extremely biased reporting.
If you weren't there you don't know. If you have no firsthand information what you think you know is gossip. If you repeat it you are nothing more than a mouthpiece for that gossip.
Paul is on the verge of being murdered because people allowed themselves to be manipulated by liars, by wolves in sheep's clothing, by men who wanted to keep them enslaved in the hopeless system and formulas of man made religion.
The scene should be familiar to you; eerily familiar. One man the lightning rod for the hatred of the masses, a hatred fueled by lies and a colossal misunderstanding.
It should alarm you that the professed people of God are always on the front lines of a mission to kill His true representatives.
Put the rocks down. Put the remote down. Put the magazine down. Turn from the media and the blogs. Turn from tradition. Turn from the masses. Block your ears and eyes from everything but His Word. Listen for His voice. Seek Him while He can still be found. If you don't you will find yourself among the murderous masses repeating the baseless accusations of the mob.
If you have strong opinions about anything ask yourself these questions. "What is the root? Does it match His fruit? Am I connected to the vine?"
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control - against such things there is no law.