Rights and privileges
Acts 22:25 “As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, ‘Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
Paul had rights and privileges as a Roman citizen.
The right to vote and stand for public office.
The right to make legal contracts.
The right to hold property.
The right to immunity from some taxes.
The right to request Caesar hear their court case.
The right not to be tortured or whipped or receive the death penalty, unless they were guilty of treason.
It is this last right that is important for this verse today.
I am amazed how Paul seems to wait till the last moment to reveal his citizenship. He could have done it when the soldiers had first come down into the city to rescue him from the marauding crowds. “I am a Roman citizen, get me out of here!”
Paul hides his citizenship from the Jews, in fact he says “I am a Jew”, he hides his Roman citizenship because he wants to win them over.
He hides his citizenship until they have stretched him out across a pillar to be whipped and tortured. “Is it legal?” of course he knows it is not, he is giving them information of who he is.
- Your rights and privileges may become a stumbling block to some, so hide them.
- Your rights and privileges are there not for luxurious living per se, but to sustain you in the mission and others too.
- The ultimate price which is what Jesus paid is when you forgo completely your rights and privileges for the cause of love.