In today’s text, we learn of Paul’s travails in Jerusalem when he was arrested and taken by the commander of the guards to the barracks to be flogged and interrogated. When he discovered that Paul was a Roman citizen, He ordered his release and commanded that the chief priests and the council assemble in order to find out what he (Paul) was being accused of by the Jews. Paul in his defense stated before the council that he had fulfilled his duty to God in good conscience. The comment angered the high priest Ananias, who instructed that Paul be struck in the mouth, but Paul replied that God would instead smite him for violating the law. When Paul was cautioned for daring to speak against God’s priest, He responded in contrary stating that He is being tried rather for his faith and hope in resurrection of the dead as he was a Pharisee. This created dissension and uproar amongst them, with scribes of the Pharisees’ insisting that Paul has committed no offence contrary to the Sadducees belief. The commander of the guard had to instruct his soldiers to take Paul from among them into the barracks. The Lord however stood by Paul at night after revealing that he would testify of Him in Rome as he had done in Jerusalem. This was to serve as an encouragement.
Afflictions, trials and persecutions could arise in the lives of Christians who carry the goodwill message of salvation everywhere as instructed by the Holy Spirit, but in the end they always overcome them all.
Rather than be discouraged, we ought to forge on with the comfort of knowing we are never alone, and that someday we’ll be able to confidently say, we have fought the good fight of faith!
I have received the spirit of liberty unto freedom in Christ Jesus, therefore i will proclaim His name to outermost parts of the earth!
Reading – Acts 22:24-23:11
24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this.25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes, I am,” he answered.
28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
Paul Before the Sanhedrin
30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews.So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.
23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”
4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”
5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’[a]”
6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)
9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Phariseesstood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
- Acts 23:5 Exodus 22:28