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As stated last time, not only did Felix choose to do nothing with Paul he wanted to grant a favor to the Jews and left him in prison for TWO YEARS!!! After that time Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. (Acts 24:27)
Remember there was a time that Paul was in prison and the Lord loosened the chains of injustice and set Paul free! He walked away from his prison cell a free man (Acts 16:26) Also in Acts 20:23 Paul says “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” Acts 23:11 the Lord told him that he was going to go to Rome! The Lord had a plan and purpose for Paul above anything and everything else and there was no specific time frame on that assignment. No matter what, Paul was going to Rome and he knew it! How else could he know that except that he was that close to the Lord!
In Acts 25 the Jews want Porcius to turn Paul over to be tried in Jerusalem but Paul pleaded with Porcius not to. Paul pleaded his case before Porcius and told him that he did nothing wrong. Paul wanted to appeal to Caesar and Porcius was going to grant Paul’s request. Paul was on his way to Rome!
“But first Paul had one more chance to present the gospel. King Agrippa and his wife Bernice came to Caesarea to pay respects to the new governor. Festus told them about Paul and they decided to hear from the apostle. As Paul had done with Felix and Drusilla, he preached to the new trio. Festus’s response contains a fascinating statement. He “was at the loss how to investigate” Paul’s claims that a dead man named Jesus was alive.” (Acts 25:20) (1)
Beth shares a conversation she had with someone about her salvation. She brings up a great point… She knows Him! “Dead prophets simply don’t save, guide, heal, deliver, answer prayers, or speak through an ancient text with the relevance of this morning’s newspaper!” (2)
Some believe Jesus as prophet, teacher, rabbi, etc., but do you know Him?
(1-2) Paul, 90 Day’s in His Journey of Life / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing
As we read last time about the not-so-quite-favorable reception of Paul’s return to Jerusalem, it gets worse today and the hunt to harm Paul has been unleashed again. I don’t even want to write about this but in all fairness to the book, the truth of the story line and scripture, I will press forward.
“Paul met welcome acceptance from some of the believers in Jerusalem. He met discouraging apprehension from others. Sadly, he also met a third reception: accusation.’ ‘They stirred up the crowd in the temple, the entire city fell into an uproar, and they grabbed Paul and tried to beat him to death.”(1)
“When Paul got to the steps, he had to be carried by the solders because of the mob’s violence, for the mass of people were following and yelling, “Kill him!” (Acts 21:35-36 HCSB)
Was Paul recalling what the prophet Agabus told him a few days earlier when he met Philip? “Wipe this person off the earth – it’s a disgrace for him to live!” (Acts 22:22 HCSB) “Was Paul ready for hatred and wholesale rejection by the people he would have given his life for? I’m not sure how adequately a person can prepare for such pain.” (2)
“Both Christ and Paul knew suffering was inevitable. Both Christ and Paul knew they would end up giving their lives – One as the Savior of the world, and other as His servant. Both grieved over Jerusalem. Both felt compelled to return to the holy city. Both knew the horror of being swept up in an angry mob. Both experienced the newness of every rejection. But no matter how many times it comes, one can hardly prepare for people who wish you dead. Paul did not know what would happen to him, but he did know Christ. As the apostle fellowshipped in His sufferings, he had never known Jesus better.” (3)
I hope that we never have to suffer the way Paul did. But you may have suffered in another way that you don’t understand the whys or the hurts or the whatever. We are coming up on Holy Week and I hope that you would attend a church where you can learn more about and the why behind what Jesus had to go through just so that he could offer us eternal life in exchange for his.
Blessings to you!
(1-3) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing
Paul continues his journey back to Jerusalem from Tyre to Ptolemais where he stayed one night with the brothers. When he arrived at Caesarea he went to see Philip the evangelist. “Philip is first mentioned in Acts 6:5 in the list of the seven original deacons. Not only was he a Spirit-filled Christian and a very wise man, he was also an extremely effective evangelist.”(1)
Philip had four daughters who prophesied. “What does prophesying mean? The original word is propheteuo, which means ‘to declare truths through the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit… to tell forth God’s message.’ A prophet is a ‘proclaimer, one who speaks out the counsel of God with clearness, energy, and authority.’ In ancient days, prior to His completed revelation, God often used prophets or “proclaimers” to warn people about the future. Virtually all God wanted foretold, He ultimately inspired in His written Word, the Bible. So the gift of prophecy is most often used today as the proclamation of God’s truth. Whether or not they foretold any part of the future, Philip’s four daughters – in today’s terms – were Christian speakers.” (2)
Paul also encountered another prophet by the name of Agabus who delivered a message through a parable. He predicted imprisonment awaited Paul in Jerusalem and all the people pleaded with Paul not to go with weeping (vs. 12). “The original word for ‘weeping’ is the strongest expression of grief in the Greek language. The men were sobbing. Paul responded tenderly, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?” (Acts 21:13) (3) Yet with Paul’s emotional response he never wandered from his faith to continue the journey set before him.
“We sometimes feel as if we’re playing tug-of-war with God. In bitter tears we sometimes let go of the rope, tumble to the ground, and cry, “Have your way, God!’ ‘God is not playing a game. He doesn’t jerk on the rope just so He can win. In fact, He doesn’t want us to let go of the rope at all… He wants us to hang on and let Him pull us over to His side. God’s will is always best even when we cannot imagine how. Surrendering to His will doesn’t mean you loose. Ultimately it means you win! Keep hanging on … and one day you’ll understand and will see His glory.”(4)
I couldn’t have said it more beautifully! Have a wonderful weekend!
(1-4) Paul, 90 Days on His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing
“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.” (vs. 32 HCSB)
It was time for Paul to go and he wanted to share with the Ephesians one last time. “He shared his sincere affection for them. The final picture painted at the end of Acts 20 touches my heart so much. Paul was a man of many words, but the primary message of his affection for the Ephesians came more in action than in words. Any man as beloved as Paul had most assuredly loved. He was the very one who taught others, “Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8 NIV). I wonder if at this moment he thought love also never fails to hurt. He committed them to God, said a few last words, then knelt with them and prayed.” (1)
“And embracing Paul, they kissed him” (vs. 37) One by one each man hugged him and said good-bye. With every embrace I’m sure he remembered something special – a good laugh shared, a late night over a sick loved one, a baptism in a cold river, a heated argument resolved. He had been their shepherd. Now he would leave them to tend their flocks on their own. In the midst of painful good-byes, perhaps Paul thought the same thing I’ve thought a time or two when my heart was hurting; “I will never let myself get this involved again.” But of course, he did. And so will we, if we continue to walk in the footsteps of our Savior. To extend hands of service without hearts of love is virtually meaningless.” (2)
“Obviously the Ephesians had some idea how blessed they were to have the kind of leader Paul was to them. He was a leader who kept watch over himself and his followers. In nautical terms, he was the best kind of captain – one who kept the vessel on course even if his compass took him far from those he loved. He had given them all he had. The best kind of good-bye is the kind with no regrets.” (3)
It’s never easy to say good-bye to those you have loved! Some will accept it with open arms and embrace you and others may not give you the time of day. But no matter what, serve well in love and ALWAYS remember ”God’s Love never fails.”
Have a beautiful day!
(1-3) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing