Acts 23

Acts 23 has Paul continuing to defy the religious leaders face to face as he tells his side of the story.  “And looking intently at the council, Paul said, Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day”. It is a common theme in Paul’s words – to look at his example and see for yourself how to live.  He stands before the leaders of his day and does the same.  Paul is a consistent message – be it word or action.  And he also is observant and knows how to lead.  “Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council….a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided”.

It wasn’t his plan.  It happened because he listened and observed and then used his God given ability to leverage the reality in the room to his advantage.  Things escalated and the two sides got out of control and “when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into  the barracks”.  Yet again, those wanting Paul dead fall short.  He manages to escape their desire and is protected by the government.

But they don’t give up.  “When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who made this conspiracy”.  These guys were serious, and there weren’t just a few of them.  They have a plan and have committed to each other to kill Paul and end his life.  God again has another plan, and this time uses an unlikely way to thwart it.  “Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul”.

Paul sends his nephew to the tribune who believes the boy and immediately puts a plan in place to get Paul out of town.  “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen”.  He is taking no chances that Paul will be attacked under his watch.  Paul is a Roman citizen, so that makes it his problem to protect and make sure he gets a fair trial and hearing.  “So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris”.  He’s out of town before the Jewish leaders knew what happened and now in the care of the governor.  Paul just continues to move up the governmental ladder, telling his story every step of the way.

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