“And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.” (Acts 21:27-30)
The Jews hated Paul. When he was called Saul and one of them, they loved him, for he persecuted those “heretical” Christians. But now he had defected and consequently everything that he did and believed had to be wrong and therefore he had to be stopped. An opportunity presented itself and they were quick to take advantage of it. But that was the problem- they were too quick.
A plan had been devised by the elders of the Church in Jerusalem to show that Paul was not against the Jews, but in reality, for them. The Jews would have part of it though. Notice that they seized Paul in the Temple when they saw him there. There was no investigation as to why he was there, but acting on prejudice, they seized him for they were convinced that he was guilty, no matter what. Likewise, they concluded that since they had seen Paul with Trophimus, who was a Gentile from Ephesus, that he must have also brought Trophimus into the Temple, which would have defiled the sanctity of the Temple. So if you want to successfully protest, act without investigating first.
Step two to a successful protest is to exaggerate and distort what the opposition is doing, saying or believing. Notice the claims: “this is THE man…” as if Paul was the only one and therefore being an exception, he had to be wrong. Next, “that teaches ALL men EVERYWHERE…” While Paul may have wished that accusation was accurate, it was not. Rarely are the words “all” “every” or “never” and the like accurate. Finally, since Paul’s theology did not agree with the Jews theology, anything that Paul taught had to be AGAINST the people, the Law and the Temple. The basis of the veracity of the Jews theology was that they had believed it (that is, their perversion of it) for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, they were not willing to subject their understanding of what Paul was teaching and what the Word of God taught to what they believed.
Having acted without investigation and having exaggerated and distorted the situation, the protest was successful. When the people heard of the incident, they were outraged and Paul was arrested. Well the protest was immediately successful but in the end, it was anything but. Ten years later the Roman army would invade Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed. Literally, not one stone would be left unturned (Luke 21:5-6). As for Paul, he would eventually be cleared of all the charges against him.
Truth will always (this is one instance where “always” is accurate) ultimately prevail. If there is need to protest, be sure to investigate first, to be certain that your “prejudices” are true. Then accurately make your accusations without exaggeration and distortion. God is a God who is true. He honors truth. In the end (maybe not immediately) He will always do right (Genesis 18:25).