Acts 23

The day following the events of chapter 22 the Roman centurion had Paul appear before “the chief priests and all their council” (22:30). This council was called the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Jewish leaders made up of two groups, Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees adhered closely to the Mosaic Law, adding many rules and traditions to such. The Sadducees were more political and “worldly” (note also 23:8).

Following his interaction with the high priest (vv. 1-5), Paul loudly declared his faith that Jesus was the promised Christ and Messiah, the Jewish people’s hope according to the OT (this is the sense of his statement in v. 6). Paul didn’t say this to divide the two main groups but to faithfully witness of Christ to them (he would do this again in 24:15, 21; 26:6-8, 23; 28:20).

Jesus miraculously appeared to Paul that night (v. 11) to encourage him to be faithful. Jesus’ promise would encourage and carry Paul through the events of the next few years as detailed in the rest of Acts.

The remaining events of this chapter demonstrate the providence of God, directing everyday life toward his desired ends and purposes.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. In uncertain times remember from the Lord what is certain and what you are supposed to do. This will enable you to not be shaken here and there and will protect you from being distracted or derailed and doing nothing.
  2. Rest in Jesus’ sovereignty, presence, and promises. Christian, God does not work in the background, he always works in the foreground!
  3. Trust in Jesus’ promises and follow his providential direction. Paul couldn’t have planned on his nephew being right there at that point. He could have had a “woe is me” response (v. 16) but he didn’t. Paul took this providential provision and relayed it to the authority and trusted the Lord, having to wait through a night ride to Cilicia. What carried him through was Jesus’ promise!
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