In today’s Bible reading, we see Paul being stretched out to be flogged by the Romans. They want to know why the crowds are shouting against him. (Acts 22:24)
Paul asks the Centurion if it’s legal to flog an uncondemned Roman citizen. Uh-oh! They both know the answer to that question. The Centurion quickly tells the Commander, who asks if Paul is a citizen. Paul tells him that he was born a Roman citizen. Immediately, the Commander panics because he’s the one who put Paul in chains to be flogged. His life is on the line now!
This is a pivotal moment in Paul’s timeline. The Romans know that Paul is a Roman citizen, with all of the rights and privileges. If anything happens to Paul, the Centurion and the Commander will have to answer for it.
Paul is a citizen of both the Roman Empire and the Kingdom of God. Being a Roman Citizen opens doors for Paul, including giving him rights that the common person didn’t possess. And Paul took advantage of that in Acts 22 and following. As we continue through the book of Acts, we’ll see that Paul uses his Roman citizenship to appeal to Caesar against the claims of the Jewish leaders who are calling for his head. Exercising those rights will give him an audience with many very important people.
But Paul is also a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Throughout the book of Acts, and throughout his letters to the churches, Paul exercises the rights of this citizenship to call for the assistance of the King to open doors and hearts for ministry. God has given every Believer the same access to Himself through prayer that Paul had.
Don’t hesitate to exercise your citizenship rights.