This brief account of Paulís experiences helps us to see how complex and difficult Paulís life was. The Book of Acts, like any history, can only record some of the main events.
Jesus taught his disciples (students), when people attacked them in one place, to escape to the next place*. That really was how Paul, and many of the first Christians lived. They saw that there was no place for them in this world*. They remembered that God has prepared a city, the New Jerusalem, for them*. So when troubles came, they simply moved on. They did not complain or try to fight back*. They knew that there was room for them in heaven*.
Sometimes a judge ordered that Paul should suffer as a criminal. Sometimes a crowd of people attacked him wildly in their anger. Of course, Paul was not a criminal and he deserved no punishment. He suffered only because, as a Christian, he declared Godís message.
The Jews (people from Paulís own nation, Israel) punished Paul on several occasions. However, because of Godís law and their traditions, they usually punished him less severely than other people did. Deuteronomy 25:3 only permitted them to beat a man 40 times. It was the custom never to do that, but only to beat the criminal 39 times. Paul tells us that he suffered that particular punishment on 5 separate occasions.
After such troubles, Paul, and the other Christians, obeyed Jesusí instruction. They went to the next town, and they declared Godís message there. That was how the message about Jesus spread so quickly at that time. In each place, people heard about Jesus, and some of them chose to invite him into their own lives.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.