28:17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”
There are a lot of things in life that don't make sense. Being hated and attacked by people who are supposed to love a rend support you is certainly high on the list of things that don't make sense. If the list were arranged in order of that he most painful that he his one would have to be at or near the top. The real question is why? Why would it ever happen to begin with? What could be so important, so bad, so passion inducing that it would lead brothers to become enemies and friends to become opponents?
Paul states the reason to the Jews in Rome after he calls them together to explain who he is, and why he is there. He simply says "I am in chains for the Hope of Israel."
In other words "My loyalty to Jesus is the reason why I am in this situation."
That is an answer but does it really explain the phenomenon? Wouldn't it be more reasonable to live and let live?
Think about this: Some people teach their children to believe in Santa Claus. Others do not. However you don't see neighbours fighting about it or families splitting up or people going to court because of their divergent views about Saint Nick.
We have all manner of different beliefs on a wide variety of topics that we tolerate quite well so why is religion different? What causes the fury, the divisions, the animosity?
Cain killed Abel. He murdered his own brother over religion. When you read the story the crazy part is that Abel had nothing to do with it. The controversy was between Cain and God. Abel only got killed because Cain was trying to silence his own conscience. Having a brother regularly reminding him that he was in rebellion against God simply by worshipping was more than he could handle.
Yesterday I was out and about town. I saw some frantic shoppers. I experienced some harried drivers. One of them reminded me of something I realized several years ago. It is almost always the angry aggressive finger pointing ones that are in the wrong. Paul was innocent but accused by the guilty. Jesus the same. Abel the same. The list is long.
The crazy part is that what the guilty are really trying to kill is their own inner turmoil. They know they are wrong but refuse to change and it leads to warring against anyone who is doing what they know they should be doing.
Paul is an enemy simply because He loves Jesus and deep down the Jews know they should be loving Him too...