Acts 21:40-22:2 Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic. “Brothers and esteemed fathers,” Paul said, “listen to me as I offer my defense.” When they heard him speaking in their own language, the silence was even greater.
Paul thus begins to make his defense before the crowd accusing him in Jerusalem.
He goes on to say that he is a Jew, has been brought up right there in Jerusalem, has been taught the law of their ancestors, and is zealous for God like them. What an effort the Apostle Paul makes to connect with his audience! It is all true. He is not pretending. And they were listening carefully.
We see throughout the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul reaches out in a similar way not only to Jews, but to Greeks, and people of all sorts of backgrounds. He tries to connect with them in some way. I believe this is what he refers to in I Corinthians 9:22
“…I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
At the same time Paul always stayed true to the gospel message and the testimony of what Christ did in his life. The crowd in Jerusalem listened to Paul when he talked about his history of persecuting Christians and his meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus, but when he talked about how the Lord was sending him to the Gentiles, they erupted in anger. Some might think Paul should have left out the details that made them angry, but Paul knew that they needed to hear the truth. Who knows all of the good fruit that came from his testimony that day, besides what has been recorded for all of history in God’s Word?
Brethren, I pray we are encouraged to follow Paul’s example. In Christ, we need to do all we can to meaningfully connect with others in love and kindness. At the same time we need to remain true to the gospel message and the testimony what Jesus Christ has done in our lives.