Freedom from the rage
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!"
23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air,
The passage introduces ‘the crazy rage’ who were listening to Paul’s sermon shouting, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!” How can we express this ambiguous situation? We are easy to get angry about the situation around us.
How to adjust our wrong rage?
1. We should have the right attitude of listening.
The basic problem of rage is that we don’t listen on what other people say. The author of a book, ‘speech of small money, listening of big money’ heard from his daughter how he could write the book without listening what the daughter said. Listening is not easy. Furthermore, it is more difficult if we misunderstand it. Why the Jews from Asia got angry? Because they didn’t listen on what Paul meant. Their problems were that they did not listen carefully.
[Proverbs 18:13 He who answers before listening-- that is his folly and his shame.]
Paul had this similar situation. If they would have listened on what Paul meant, they would have been changed by grace.
2. We should throw away wrong frame of religion.
A book of Thomas D. Zweifel, ‘Communication or Die’ tells us ’Scarcely learning while speaking’
‘Listening: listen nothing while speaking’.
We are to be careful to listen from others? Why aren’t we careful of listening? The higher place person is more difficult to listen more.
When they heard “gentiles”, it made them angry (v.21), because they thought them as selected people. Why didn’t they listen on? What they wanted to listen was that Paul would tell what they hoped. We have our own frame. But sometimes, we need to have listen other’s opinion.
One more reason they got angry that they had their own frame. As they thought them right, it was not difficult to get angry. We must change our mind and thinking like this.
3. We need to pursuit grace and peace in gospel.
It was about the moment the Jews bound him to flog. (v.24-25) Paul just testified his birth background. Paul could get angry, but he didn’t. He mentioned to adjust their attitude. (v.25) He felt unfair though, he persuaded them with the fullness of the Spirit.
We can see Paul’s greeting message by grace on Ephesians 1:1-2. How could he say in the jail? “Send greeting with grace and peace from Jx. Christ” Throwing rage away, he showed grace instead. But we forgot God’s peace given to us by grace.
We need to pursuit the peace as Paul had on the passage.