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Bible Discussion — Acts 23-24 : Bweinh!

Bible Discussion — Acts 23-24

November 12, 2008, 11:00 am; posted by
Filed under Bible, Connie, David, Josh J, Steve  | 1 Comment

This week, Bweinh.com moves on to the next two chapters of Acts.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12
13-14 | 15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22

Paul’s day in court dawned — but if he thought that meant his ordeal would soon be over, he didn’t know Felix’s nickname was “The Procrastinator.”

In Isaiah 58:4, God rebuked Israel, saying, “Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness.” Here is perfect example of what God was talking about — fasting to kill Paul.

The sheer volume of Roman might that accompanied Paul to Caesarea (23:23). It was 38 miles to Antipatris and another 26 to Caesarea — those were significant distances 2000 years ago. Were those soldiers headed up there anyway, or was it all for Paul?

Paul’s reaction when he was first struck by Ananias. He was beaten many times, but this is the first time I can remember reading that he lost his temper and yelled back. And after he recovers, he says he was wrong; God’s word compels us not to react that way to those over us. Oy, such composure. He’s no Glenn Beck.

I like how the chief captain lied in his letter to Felix, claiming he rescued Paul because he knew Paul was a Roman. He actually found that out after he was getting ready to scourge him.

Josh: House Divided; Bribing the Governor
Connie: Herod’s Praetorium
David: Judgment Hall
Steve: Drinking Oath

The Sons of Katie Elder, my favorite John Wayne movie. He was falsely accused and arrested, then ambushed while being transported to prevent the truth from coming out. And, of course, there was lots of shooting.

There have been many recent lawsuits between mainline denominations and splinter churches that have broken fellowship due to homosexual ordination and other social issues, yet want to keep the right to use the church building. When these cases get to court, whichever side feels it has the weaker case will frequently argue that the real issue is a matter of doctrine, not property law, and so the secular tribunal should just forget about it.

I didn’t realize that Paul was the father of this technique; in 24:22, he explains that he’s not guilty of anything. Except, of course, believing in the resurrection of the dead — the chief source of Pharisee-Sadducee squabbling and an invitation to Felix to see him as simply a victim of religious persecution.

God saved us to be witnesses. The shape and tenor, the entire outcome of our lives is not about success or failure in worldly accomplishments, even when applied to ministry. It\’s about going where we are supposed to go, doing what we are supposed to do, bearing witness in the way He wants us to bear witness.

God does not call us without equipping us. As we see in the case of Paul\’s Roman citizenship, God lays the foundation for His calling long before we ever realize we will need it.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)

Jesus is the salvation of Whom Paul is compelled to speak, no matter what state he finds himself in.

Standing at Paul\’s side, saying: “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

Felix and Drusilla fall into the category of Bible names that never really caught on, unlike Peter, Paul, and Mary. You might know a Felix or two, but when was the last time you met a Drusilla?

Oaths always sound good when you’re taking them amongst the crowd, but then reality sets in. I wonder how those 40-plus guys felt once they learned Paul was shipped out of town. Who was the first to take a drink? Did they include an exception for escape or transfer? And how long did it take to convince the last guy that God would forgive him if he had a little fish before Paul was dead?

Paul’s nephew became his Esther when God used him to thwart an assassination attempt. I never noticed that Paul had a sister, much less a nephew.

23:5b — “”˜You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.\'” (Paul quoting Exodus 22:28). This is my Bible verse of the week. :-)

23:11 — “But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.'”

24:25 — “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.'”

I shake my head at the way Paul played politics, with his Roman citizenship and sudden attachment to his Pharisaical upbringing. “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee!” he yelled pathetically, sensing the strong Pharisaical presence in the crowd.

Like Joseph, Paul found favor with his captor; even though he was not truly set “free,” he was allowed to have guests, and receive blessings and care from them.

God knows what we’re going through, and He takes care of us, despite the appearance of outward circumstances. This is the faith of which Paul spoke so fervently, and this is where it was birthed, fashioned, and nurtured.

I am most struck by the response of Felix, governor and longtime judge of the nation. The passage says he was “well-acquainted” with young Christianity, and interested enough in Paul’s message to come back with his Jewish wife to hear what he had to say. But after Paul spoke about “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come,” he reacted in fear and sent Paul away. His future visits were made with the intent of inducing a bribe; seems the light of lucre managed to put impending judgment out of his mind.

What strikes me is the contrast between the arrests of Jesus and Paul. Jesus, prepared to die, offered no defense to His accusers. Paul, prepared to live for Christ, shrewdly divided the Sanhedrin and rationally answered governor Felix.

There’s not much left to the book of Acts, but with the time he has left, Paul continues to appeal his way up the ladder of Roman leaders and judges. Next week it’s Festus and Agrippa — then he sets sail for Rome itself.


1 Comment to “Bible Discussion — Acts 23-24”

  1. Bible Discussion — Jonah 3-4 : Bweinh! on February 3rd, 2009 11:07 pm

    […] | 6-8 | 9-10 Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-1415-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24 | 25-26 | 27-28 Jonah: […]

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