Chapter 22 opens with Paul addressing the crowd, and when they heard him speak in an Hebraic language, they became quiet. Paul let them know he was a Jew from Tarsus, but was raised in Jerusalem. He told them he was trained in the Jewish Law and was zealous for God, that he had even persecuted the Christians to death. He told them of his journey to Damascus, for the purpose of persecuting more Christians. He told of his conversion on the road, of the light and the Lord’s voice speaking to him, of his blinding experience and the scales falling off. The crowd listened to him until Paul told them that the Lord was sending him to the Gentiles. When they heard this, they wanted him killed. The commander ordered Paul taken to the barracks. He instructed that he be flogged. Just as they were about to whip him, Paul asked, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?” The centurion told the commander that Paul was a Roman citizen. The commander made the comment, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied. The next day, Paul was released and the commander ordered the chief priests and Sanhedrin to assemble. And he brought Paul to stand before them.
The verse that stood out to me most was the commander who said, “I had to pay a big price” and Paul says, “I was born a citizen.” I thought about the high price Paul had paid for his citizenship into the Kingdom of God. I bet it was a much higher price than the commander had paid for his citizenship to Rome. Is there any place that you would “pay a big price” to live? How big of a price are you willing to pay for Christ? I pray that we are willing to pay whatever the price asked of me for the Kingdom of God.