Mistaken Identities

Acts 21:26–40 (NKJV)

26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them.
27 Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
30 And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut. 31 Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He immediately took 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 near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another.
So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. 35 When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!” 37 Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I speak to you?”
He replied, “Can you speak Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?”

Acts 21:26-40

Paul did as James and the elders had suggested, and shaved his head, made a vow, and went to the temple. But in the midst of the uproar about Christianity and Paul’s teaching, some of the Jews assumed the worst and accused him of bringing a Gentile into the temple. While he had been seen in the company of an Ephesian brother, they had not gone into the temple. However, the Jews opposing him made those assumptions in the course of trying to get rid of Paul. In the process a riot broke out, and they began to beat Paul. Roman police came on the scene and saved Paul from the beating. However, they also mistook him for an Egyptian rebel who led a group of assassins. Paul was having a rough day. He started the day behaving as a good Jewish man, and ended the day in chains, accused of all sorts of evil. When men attack, it is often due to misunderstandings about another individual, and sometimes an attack of the enemy, Satan, hoping to get in the way of your success as a man or woman of God. Either way, realize that you enemy is not even that person who ridicules you, beats you, or arrests you. Don’t hate you accusers. Instead, pray to the God of heaven to guide your steps and protect you so that you do not fail. He will handle your enemies. You simply serve God with all that is within you, and leave the rest to Him. An identity mistaken by another human being cannot change the identity by which God knows you!

Artwork from http://www.marysrosaries.com/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Paul_arrested_in_Jerusalem_-_Acts_21_40.jpg

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