Empty Cross Ministries
February 6, 2021
Daily Devotion in Acts 23
Be Like the Apostle Paul!
Despite previous warnings not to go to Jerusalem, where it was prophesied, he would face trials and tribulations, Paul went. The fearless evangelist had a burden to give out the message that had transformed his life. He endured beatings, near assassinations, and cruel treatments. He was not going to quit or turn back.
After a day when Paul was almost pulled to pieces (Acts 23:10) by an angry mob, the Lord verbally encouraged the preacher (Acts 23:11). In the encouraging remarks, the Lord told the evangelist that as he had testified for the Lord in Jerusalem, he must next be a witness the same way in Rome. For Paul’s loyal, non-teetering service, the Lord rewarded Paul with more opportunities to serve Him. Paul had shown himself faithful in the tasks he was given, and God was going to use him further.
Many need to understand that God will usually use a person for more and greater things if he has first done all he was previously required to do. Some sit around waiting for the Lord to call them to minister in a faraway land but refuse to do anything for the Lord while waiting.
Some have grandeur ideas of preaching heart-rending sermons to jam-packed stadiums but will not take the time or the opportunity to preach to a Sunday class of just one child. Others will go to years of Bible college to learn more truths from the Word of God but will not share what biblical knowledge they have now with those around them. Many will never be used any further for the cause of Christ because they have failed to obey God’s command in baptism, tithing, or church attendance.
God wants to use us. The small tasks He speaks to our hears about or the daily opportunities to stand up as a testimony for the Savior are the training and testing God wants us to go through. An all-seeing God is observing the occasions we have to be a witness for the Savior.
God will use a person that has proven himself faithful in what he has already been shown to do. The next time the Lord needs something done for His cause in your area, will the Lord automatically think of you, as you have always done what He has asked you to do? Or will he look for another that has already obeyed His commandments?
“Faithful in little; faithful in much.”
Words to Understand:
Dissension: disagreement; conflict
Threescore: a “score” equals 20, so threescore is 60
1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.
3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?
5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
6 ¶ But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.
10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.
11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
12 ¶ And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.
15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
16 And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
17 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.
18 So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.
19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?
20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
21 But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.
22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.
23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;
24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.
25 And he wrote a letter after this manner:
26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.
27 This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.
28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:
29 Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.
30 And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.
31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:
33 Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.
34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;
35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.