God’s Protection Helps His People
Acts – Chapter 23
- Acts 23:1-6– Paul speaks to the Jewish council and perceives that some were Sadducees and others Pharisees and claimed to be a Pharisee believing in the resurrection of the dead
- Acts 23:7-9 – This produced a division and the Pharisees said that they found no evil in Paul
- Acts 23:10 – A major conflict arose and the commander fearing for Paul’s safety ordered the guards to take him to the barrachs
- Acts 23:11-15 – The Lord reassured Paul the following night but 40 Jews made an oath to kill Paul and asked the chief priest to request a meeting with Paul so they could kill him
- Acts 23:16-22 – Paul’s sister’s son heard them and went to tell Paul about the oath and then told it in private to the commander
- Acts 23:23-33 – The commander, at night, sent Paul to Caesarea to Felix the governor, with a letter and an escort of 200 soldiers and 70 horsemen.
- Acts 23:34-35 – Felix read the letter and said that he would hear Paul when his accusers come
Some observations on this chapter:
- Paul’s impetuous character is demonstrated by his reaction towards the High Priest (Acts 23:2-3). He then realizes his mistake (Acts 23:4). His reaction is making his position even more precarious and quickly apologizes (Acts 23:5).
It is natural to react to situations but this is something that can produce many problems. If we learn to step back, we let the Holy Spirit guide us on how to respond to events and we will make better decisions and have greater success.
- Paul’s astute use of his discernment divides the audience (Acts 23:6-7). At this point, Paul’s intention is not to share the Gospel but to save his life. To this end, Paul deflects the topic from his ministry to the Gentiles and observance of the Law to the belief in the resurrection of the dead. This was a hot, controversial topic between Sadducees and Pharisees and always ended up in a fight (Acts 23:8-10). Unfortunately the impact of his diversion was only temporary. The hate towards Paul was stronger that their theological division. The two groups joined together to plot Paul’s assassination (Acts 23:12-15).
We are called to be peacemakers (Mat 5:9). Instigating conflict to resolve our problems does not work well but often exacerbates the situation.
- The Lord always takes care of His people .
- First, He reassured Paul in a vision of the night (Acts 23:11).
- Then, He protected him from the assassins through Paul’s sister’s son (Acts 23:16-22).
We can trust the Lord as our protector. He said. I will never leave nor forsake you (Heb 13:5-6).
- What is your tendency and experience when you have reacted in difficult situations?
- Has conflict ever produced positive result in your life?
- Can you share any testimony of unexpected protection or encouragement from God, similar to Paul’s experience in this chapter?
Prayer of Faith
I thank you Father for Your love and faithfulness. I do not need to fear anything but I can have peace because you are with me. You are the Good Shepherd. All good things come from you.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen!