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Summary: Alone, locked up, and held under guard; it would be natural for Paul to be depressed, fearful, and discouraged by all this. Perhaps he was secretly chastising himself for the commotion he had caused. He had failed and now what about his plans to go....

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April 18, 2016

Acts of the Apostles

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: IV.E.6: The Plot Against Paul (23:11-22)

Acts 23:11-22 (KJV)

11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.

14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.

15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.

16 And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.

18 So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.

19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?

20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.

21 But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.

22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.

Introduction

The narrative has all the marks of an eyewitness account; only the most skeptical would question Luke’s accuracy and truthfulness.

Commentary

11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Alone, locked up, and held under guard; it would be natural for Paul to be depressed, fearful, and discouraged by all this. Perhaps he was secretly chastising himself for the commotion he had caused. He had failed and now what about his plans to go on to Rome? At this point he was not even sure he would get out of Jerusalem alive. Where would all this end? What good had it done him or anyone else for him to have come to Jerusalem; fine thanks he had received from the Jerusalem Christians for the generous gift he had brought them.

The following night after his appearance before the Sanhedrin, Paul had a reassuring vision{1] while in the Antonia prison. Dear reader, I can imagine Paul praying and the Lord taping him on the shoulder and then standing beside him. We would insult the very sacredness of this incident if we discussed how the Lord appeared or how Paul heard Him. He was there, and Paul knew it. He spoke, and Paul heard it. It put a new heart into the apostle, and he took courage as the Lord commanded him. If ever he had needed reassurance, it must have been now, and the Lord (Jesus) met that need. He spoke to Paul that night in the Antonia, bidding him to “be of good cheer.” He could take the cruelty of his circumstances now as part of that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. All things would indeed work together for good. He was the called according to God’s purpose. He was still in the center of God’s will.


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