Paul Arrested in Jerusalem
"Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, 'Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.' (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple)" (Acts 21:27-29).

We have seen that Paul's own Jewish brothers-in-Christ had become prejudiced against him on account of his teachings regarding the law. Thus, it is not surprising to see more manifestations of the intense hatred of the unbelieving Jews against him. A week after his "purification" (cf. 24:18), Paul is spotted in the temple by some of the exceedingly zealous Jews from Asia. They were in Jerusalem for the feast. They had previously persecuted Paul heavily during his missionary journeys in an effort to stop the evangelist, and they continue that futile behavior here. Although they were persistent, Paul was immovable! On this occasion they stir up a mob by blatantly lying about Paul and laying hands on him. They begin by reporting their opinion of Paul's evangelistic activities: "This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people [the Jews], the law [of Moses], and this place [the temple]." This charge is really a compliment to the scope of Paul's efforts for Christ, though they clearly did not understand that Christianity was not the enemy of Judaism but the fulfillment of it. Then, in order to incite the crowd to action against the apostle, they level a most serious charge against him. They start the rumor that Paul had made the temple unclean because he had brought Gentiles (plural!) into the temple. Did they have any proof of such activity? Of course not, and they really didn't care. They weren't interested in justice, they simply yearned for Paul's destruction. They fabricate an accusation based on the fact that they had seen Paul earlier with a Gentile (singular), so they "supposed" he had brought the man into the temple with him. What a sham! Clearly, these men have no integrity and their story is full of holes!

"And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut. Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, 'Away with him!'" (Acts 21:30-36).

Sadly, it didn't take much to stir up a large group of people into a frenzy against the apostle Paul. The false accusation was blindly accepted and the disturbed group dragged Paul out of the temple by force (whatever happened to giving someone the benefit of the doubt and investigating before inflicting judgment?). The temple doors were shut behind them (for they were intent on shedding blood and the "holy" building must not be defiled!) and the people began to physical beat him, intent on killing him. Since the whole city was in an uproar, the news quickly reached the Roman authorities. The commander (Lysias) in that region (along with sufficient assisting soldiers) ran to the scene to put a stop to it. Their swift arrival no doubt saved Paul's life, for their presence caused the beating to cease (at least momentarily). The soldiers bound Paul with chains and then tried to ascertain the cause of the scene. This effort was unsuccessful due to the chaos of the noisy crowd, the continued violence, and the contradictory utterances of the "witnesses" (cf. Mark 14:56). Finally, Paul is carried away by the soldiers (intent on going to a quieter, safer place) as the mob shouted for his death (cf. John 19:15). Thus begins the captivity of Paul (for his protection) which would open doors of opportunity to preach the gospel in places where he otherwise might never have had access.