Bible Reading Day 204
Day 204: July 23 (Acts 23:1-11)
Today Luke records Paul’s defense speech to the Jewish high council. This is the same group that had commissioned him to persecute the believers (Acts 9) and so addressing them as brethren underscores his heritage, while declaring that he has lived with a clear conscience before God shows that he is not ashamed of the transformation in his life, from persecutor to evangelist and apostle.
For this the high priest has him slapped in the mouth, a common form of disrespect for a liar in that culture. Paul first rebukes Ananias, then apologizes when he is told this is the High Priest. Paul understands that even ungodly authority is appointed by God and deserves respect.
Then Paul changes his strategy and exploits the divisions on the high council by announcing that his hope is in the resurrection of the dead. At this the council splits along religious lines, sadducees against pharisees, and the Roman commander has Paul removed from the melee.
God is clearly pleased with Paul’s testimony and clear stand for faith. That night he is told “You will preach in Rome as well.”
Reflect on a time when you took a stand for Jesus. How did it go? What was the outcome and who was affected beside you? If you have not already done so, ask God for His perspective on that time.
Have a great day!