Paul was in trouble—again. After Roman soldiers had arrested him for causing a near riot in Jerusalem, they prepared to have him “interrogated under the lash” (Acts 22:24). But with one question, Paul stopped the proceedings in their tracks. “Is it lawful,” he asked the centurion in charge, “for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen and has not been tried?” (22:25). The centurion halted. He knew that going forward with the scourging could land him in jail. That’s because being a citizen of the Roman Empire meant something; it meant that one had certain rights that could not be violated.
Clearly, Paul understood his identity as a Roman citizen, and he understood the benefits of this citizenship. But he also knew that he had...
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