Acts 23

Day 23, Acts 23.

This chapter starts out with Paul in the Sanhedrin (the Jewish counsel of judical and religious leaders). being struck on the mouth because he said he had fulfilled his duty to God in all good conscience. Sometimes, people dont like what we have to say. Sometimes we get punished for it, as with what was happening with Paul. But we must do as God has called us to do.

Paul said,  “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” This caused a disturbance among the two major groups within the Sanhedrin, Sadducees and Pharisees. Interestingly,  scripture tells us,  “The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.” The Sadducees would have basically denied much of the spiritual realm, while the Pharisees embraced it. This caused a huge argument.

I find it very telling that there were some within the Sanhedrin that saw nothing wrong with Paul. “[S]ome of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

It got so bad that the Roman commander had Paul removed forcibly, for fear that Paul would be torn to pieces.

Yet, God encouraged Paul:

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

I think sometimes, that is all we have – the Lord encouraging us to do the right thing in the midst of a difficult time. We have to be in a position where we exercise our ability to listen to the Lord. We must be able to hear God. This means we must cultivate the habit of listening to God. Have you heard the voice of God? Have you been encouraged by God? Sometimes God does it with other people, sometimes with something on the TV or radio or with something we read. Sometimes God speaks to our hearts, minds, and souls, and sometimes we simply know. I challenge you to develop the habit of listening for, hearing, and obeying God.
The next morning, the Jews made a pact to kill Paul before they ate or drank again. I always wonder what happened to tho people, because when Paul’s nephew heard about it, he told Paul. Paul had him tell the Roman commander, who had him sent to the Roman procurator (governor) of Judea (from 52-58 AD) with this letter:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency, Governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

Notice that there was no cause for the Roman citizen to be charged, as the accusation against Paul had to do with the local Law. Since there was a plot against him, the Roman commander ordered Paul’s accusers to make their case with the governor.

This chapter ends with Paul being taken to Caesarea, and the governor agreeing to hear Paul’s case. Paul was kept under guard at Herod’s palace until the arrival of the Jewish leaders.

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