Acts 23:12-22 Helping in Times of Need
12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”
16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.
17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.
The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”
19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”
20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”
22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”
Living God’s Word: Paul was struck illegally—without accusation, trial, or verdict. He didn’t care who had ordered the blow—he spoke out firmly and forcefully. How do you respond to wrong when you see it? Do you turn a blind eye or deaf ear to it? Do you follow the crowd? Or do you stand up and stand against sin? There are times when it may be appropriate to be silent before our accusers, but if we never speak out, we cannot be salt and light in a decaying and dark society.
Words to Live By: Forty Jews, in conjunction with their leaders, create a plot to kill Paul. But Paul’s nephew intervenes. He is an example to us of how family members may support one another in trying times and call upon legitimate authority in support of God’s people. Good government and family are blessings of God’s providence that enable the Gospel to spread among us.
Prayer: Thank You, God, that we can always count on Your unchanging Word and Your goodwill. Grant us confidence in You and Your blessings. Amen.
Living and Sharing the Word of God… because it matters!
Pastor Rod Lindemann
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The Holy Bible: New International Version. (2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
Words to Live by and Prayer: Engelbrecht, E. A. (2009). The Lutheran Study Bible (2002). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Purchase a copy of The Lutheran Study Bible at www.cph.org or contact Rod Lindemann.
Living God’s Word: Adapted from Life Application, Barton, B. B. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.