And they gave him audience to this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth…
I. THE POWER OF PREJUDICE. The very word "Gentile" exasperates Jews, yet they were separated from Gentiles, not to hate them, but to save them.
II. The close connection between IGNORANCE AND VIOLENCE. Knowledge helps patience; patience promotes knowledge.
III. THE CRUELTY OF POWER when it is exercised without righteousness. Torture was at once a confession of weakness and a violation of the rights of man. Law can need no cruelty to support it. It must be based upon truth and benevolence, or it is not righteous law. While the noisy tumult of the mob showed the corrupt state of the Jewish nation, the scene in the castle revealed the imperfection and worthlessness of mere human rule. Both facts were the cries of the world for the kingdom of God.
IV. THE INFLUENCE OF TRUE RELIGION in enlightening the mind, calming the feelings, strengthening the will, and preparing the man for trials. The example of Paul one of exalted self-possession and heroism, together with astonishing intelligence and discernment of character. The thought of using his Roman citizenship at that moment was doubtless a suggestion of God's Spirit.
V. PROVIDENCE in the government of the world. The Roman state needed to prepare the way for the gospel. The two citizenships - of the earthly kingdom, of the heavenly, compared in the two men, Lysias and Paul. Little the parents of the apostle could have anticipated how that Roman privilege would work into his history. We should give our children all we can to prepare them for future life. Grace and providence work together. The world's alarm opens the way for the gospel.
VI. THE REAL CONFLICT, not between Christianity and political power, but between true and false religion. The chief priests and the council face to face with the representative of Christ. A corrupted Judaism must be swept out of the way. After that is done, then Christianity will be ready for its still greater mission to evangelize the whole world, beginning with the Roman empire. The three parties represented - the Christian, the rabbinical, the heathen. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.