Read Acts 23
Paul before a divided Jewish High Council (23:1-11). Kill the man of God (Acts 23:12-24). Jews demand his death before Roman rulers: (1) Felix, Roman governor (24:1-27); (2) Festus, new Roman governor (25:1-12); (3) King Agrippa, Roman ruler of Galilee (25:23-27).
When the Apostle Paul arrived in Jerusalem following his third missionary journey, the religious leaders stirred up all the people with false accusations: This is the man, that teacheth . . . against the people, and the Law, and this place (Acts 21:27-28). In response, an angry mob seized Paul and tried to kill him, but he was rescued from their violence by Roman soldiers. He was then allowed to speak in his own defense from the steps of the Roman garrison to the angry Jews. But when Paul mentioned his commission by Jesus to go to the Gentiles, they immediately considered him a traitor to their religion, and angrily shouted: Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live (22:22).
After the Sanhedrin authorities tried Paul and failed to convict him, religious zealots decided to take the law into their own hands and murder him (23:12-15). Paul's sister's son overheard their wicked plan to murder Paul and told the Roman captain, who then had Paul secretly transferred by night to Felix, the Roman governor of Judea residing at Caesarea (23:16-35).
During his several years' confinement in Caesarea, Paul was tried before three powerful rulers of the Roman Empire who listened to what he had to say about his faith in Jesus Christ. He faithfully reasoned of righteousness, temperance (self-control), and judgment to come (24:25). Each of his judges had a different reaction as Paul spoke of the judgment to come. His first judge Felix trembled (24:25), but he only heard him from time to time. Later, his second judge Festus exposed his indifference when he exclaimed in a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself (out of your mind) (26:24). And, for whatever he may have meant, his third judge Agrippa said: Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (26:28). Whether Agrippa's words were sincere, or sarcastic, as some think, is not important — the outcome was the same. As far as we know, none of these men received Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives and, consequently, all were eternally lost.
God invites you to repent and receive Christ as your Savior and Lord: Behold, now is the day of salvation (II Cor. 6:2).
Thought for Today:
Hatred stirreth up the strifes: but love covereth all sins (Prov. 10:12).
23:3 whited wall whitewashed wall, meaning hypocrite (see Matt. 23:27); 23:23 third hour of the night 11 p.m.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Iva Jo Swinsburg • Staff: Jannah Kennon • Government Officials: Rep. John Boehner (OH) and Sen. James Inhofe (OK) • Country: Indonesia (211.8 million) five large and 13,662 lesser islands in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Bahasa Indonesian (modified form of Malay) and English • Growing pressure from Muslim leaders to limit advances of Christianity by not renewing many of the missionaries' permits to stay in the country • 83% Muslim; 9% Protestant; 4% Catholic; 2% Hindu; 1% Buddhist; 1% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Study and heed the instruction of the Word of God that your prayers may be heard (Prov. 1:28-30).
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 4:5