“When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, who had been in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd. They seized him, shouting, ‘Fellow Israelites, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place; more than that, he has actually brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place. For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. The all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were trying to kill him ….” Acts 21:27-31a
Passages like this one make me laugh. One group attempting to force their will on others to “fix” a problem that isn’t even real. Assuming (supposing) something is true based on an observance or action that isn’t necessarily linked leads to faulty logic, action and false accusation. The accusation here, “they have defiled the temple” becomes a reality – the accusers become “they” as they seize, drag out and attempt to kill inside and on the steps of the temple. The temple, the place to encounter God on earth becomes a place of violence and hatred – the doors are actually shut. And they accused Paul of defiling the temple?! Recently we see this same behavior in our church, in our world, in our families. Just check out social media. False reports, not researched are taken at face value, believed and shared with conviction, often with accusatory language. It’s the equivalent of seizing, dragging, beating and attempting to kill. Jesus came to fling wide open the narrow door to salvation and eternal life. Ask yourself – are you a door opener or closer? Are you loving others into the kingdom of God or attempting to throw them out?