“After (the commander) had given permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his hand to the people. When there was a great hush, he addressed them in Aramaic…” (Acts 21:40)
There’s an old saying about assumptions–we shouldnʻt make them! Even when we make the best plans and seek out wise counsel, things may not go the way we envisioned. In this passage, Paul got advice from the elders to respect the Jews and “purify” himself and some of his crew before speaking at the temple (1 Cor. 9:19-22). He and the elders thought it might help win some over to Christ! Still, the group made an assumption that Paul had defiled the temple (21:28-29) and the crowd started beating him to death. A report prompted the regiment commander to assume there was an uprising (21:31) and his soldiers bound Paul in chains as they assumed he was a revolutionary (21:38).
Was Paul about to die? Was his mission interrupted? Those would be easy assumptions if we read only up to verse 36. We see at the end of this section a crippled, beaten, yet resilient Paul NOT assume he was finished and NOT sulk off to jail. Knowing the great mission that Jesus gives to all of us, Paul asks for an opportunity to preach the good news to those who were calling for his death. He did not assume the crowd would yell and scream and with a raised hand they hushed….and he addressed them with the gospel.
Be wise and plan, but donʻt be discouraged when things donʻt go exactly the way you wanted. Donʻt assume the worst. Even though our body, heart, and strength may fail, God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever (Ps. 73:26). We can know for sure that God loves us, there is a future, and our hope will not be cut off (Prov. 23:18).