His accusers didn’t have any true complaints. So they lied. They made up charges and they had him arrested and beaten under false pretense. The “Jews from Asia” were probably the people from Ephesus where Paul had done a great deal of ministry. They hated him there and they hated him here. They aroused the crowds and started another riot.
Paul’s mere presence was enough to entice riots, fights, trials, and crowds. Simply because he was known for teaching Jesus.
This is a type of persecution we haven’t really known in our culture lately. We might get looks, maybe even some aggressive rebuttals, but we don’t face this kind of rebuke and hatred for our faith. Paul did. He still continued.
In the world today, thousands and thousands of believers live out their faith in secret because they can’t share openly the name of Jesus. In North Korea, Christians refrain from teaching their children about Jesus until they are older because they can’t be expected to understand the secrecy of their faith until they’re older. Egypt, China, Cambodia, even Cuba and Sudan are areas where right now as you read this, people that God loves, died for, and whom we will spend eternity with, are suffering at the hands of persecutors. Their lives and freedom at risk every day.
It’s easy to lose focus of that. It’s so easy to get caught up in the American dream version of following Jesus and miss that people are truly suffering to live this faith that we take for granted. Pray for them today. For them, Paul’s stories of being abused and tortured and arrested for their faith are not powerful stories of how bad it can get, but a reality they live in every day.
Pray for the church. Locally. Globally.