Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16: Acts 23

Acts 23

This week we’re going to be following Paul as he continues to travel, only now on he’ll be in custody. Remember from last week that Paul went to Jerusalem and a riot started. Paul was taken as prisoner by a Roman lieutenant who found out he was a Roman citizen. That guy wanted to figure out how to charge and punish Paul, so he let him explain himself before the Sanhedrin (the supreme Jewish judicial, ecclesiastical, and administrative council in ancient Jerusalem before 70 AD. They were sort of like a Congress and Supreme Court for Jews.).

So now Paul is on trial and after the first sentence of his defense the “judge” orders him to be struck on the mouth. Paul’s response is just as biting, which puts him in a bad spot. Next, Paul confesses that he’s “on trial because of his hope in the resurrection,” which throws the Sanhedrin into sharp internal debate. They get so raucous that the Roman commander got Paul out of the room. Next, the commander sends Paul with an escort to the Governor of the region.

Paul knew what he was doing when he brought up the resurrection during trial. Why do you think he brought it up? Was there any positive impact for the Kingdom of God? Whether or not Paul’s words before the Sanhedrin were exemplary, God did speak to him the following night. Apparently Paul needed encouragement. This is the second time that Acts records God talking directly to Paul. And this time God reveals that Paul will give his testimony in Rome!

- Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman