Suffering For The Gospel: Acts 19:19-24
“19) But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, 20) and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, 21) and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.” 22) The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. 23) When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; 24) and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.” Acts‬ ‭16‬:‭19‬-‭24‬ ‭
Any time a mob is moved into a frenzy the enemy is at work. This was precipitated by casting out an evil spirit. The demonic realm can negativity influence a crowd beyond comprehension and common sense.
The idea that “they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities” is a description of violence. As can be seen later, They acted on emotional presumption and not truth or facts. Law and order as well as due process were set aside. This is common during a mob frenzy.
The accusation of throwing the city into confusion was false as was the assumption that they were not Roman citizens. Without giving them a chance to defend themselves, the crowd rose up together against them and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
According to Jewish law, they could receive no more than 39 lashes, but this was Roman territory. They were inflicted with many blows with rods. There was no need to keep score. (See 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) Paul frequently endured this kind of treatment for the sake of the gospel.
After the punishment was inflicted, they were thrown into jail and the jail keeper was charged to keep them securely. Having received such a command, he not only put them in the inner prison, he also fasten their feet in stocks. Putting a chain on a Roman citizen was another violation of civil rights. (See Acts 22:29)
Let’s review, they suffered false accusation, public humiliation, mob violence, excessive force, physical assault, were denied due process and now endured false imprisonment. This text does a good job of defining some of the elements involved in suffering for the gospel.
Here are two big questions. First, “Why was Paul willing to endure this kind of treatment time and time again?” It came down to his love of Christ and willingness to defend the true Gospel message. Second; “Does this text undergird the health, wealth and prosperity gospel?” To the contrary, it obliterates its!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global.