The story so far
Paul had concluded his third missionary journey, making his way back to Jerusalem. It was then that the trouble kicked off which attracted the attention of the Roman Governor of Jerusalem. To figure out what was going on, the governor handed Paul over to the Sanhedrin to be questioned and that’s where we pick up in chapter 23.
Reading: Acts 23
Whilst Paul was a man led by God, he also had a plan and that was to take the Gospel to Rome. Rome was considered the centre of the world at that time. He’d tried on a few occasions but had been unable to get there for whatever reason. What becomes increasingly clear in this passage is that Paul would be going to Rome, but not as a free man, but as a man in chains.
As Verse 11, reads
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.”
Paul was in a sticky situation.
On being handed over to the Sanhedrin, he’d tried to explain his purpose, and his beliefs. But despite his best efforts, he could not get through to them. Things even escalated to where more than 40 men had plotted to kill Paul, and refused to even eat until he was dead!
What I take from this passage is that God stands near us, and speaks to us when we’re in moments of desperation. Paul had learnt on the good days and bad days, to tune his ear into what God might say to him.
Not only does God comfort Paul, he also gives him insight into his plans. This might not have been how Paul had expected to begin his journey to Rome, but then God doesn’t always work in the way we expect.
We can be confident of this though, that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and we can always trust every area of our lives to God.
Contributed by Ps Dan