Monday, 8 April 2013

Theme Number 53 Paul survives another attempted assassination Acts 23

Jerusalem - The Kotel
After addressing the Sanhedrin where he had been illegally struck on the mouth at the High priest’s orders, He cried out “ because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead I stand trial”. He did this knowing that he would divide the company as the sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. After a great uproar between the two parties ( the Pharisees and the Sadducees)The tribune ordered the troops to rescue Paul and bring him into the barracks.

Paul addressing the Sanhedrin

That night The Lord Himself stood by Paul and encourage Paul saying that he would also testify for Him even in Rome.

The Plot to Kill Paul.
Act 23:12  And when it was day, the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
Act 23:13  And they were more than forty which made this conspiracy.
Act 23:14  And they came to the chief priests and the elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.
Act 23:15  Now therefore do ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you, as though ye would judge of his case more exactly: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to slay him.
Matthew Henry’s comments: We have here the story of a plot against the life of Paul; how it was laid, how it was discovered, and how it was defeated.
I. How this plot was laid. They found they could gain nothing by popular tumult, or legal process, and therefore have a recourse to the barbarous method of assassination; they will come upon him suddenly, and stab him, if they can but get him within their reach. So restless is their malice against this good man that, when one design fails, they will turn another stone. Now observe here,
1. Who they were that formed this conspiracy. They were certain Jews that had the utmost degree of indignation against him because he was the apostle of the Gentiles, Act_23:12. And they were more than forty that were in the design, Act_23:13. Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!
2. When the conspiracy was formed: When it was day. Satan had filled their hearts in the night to purpose it, and, as soon as it was day, they got together to prosecute it; answering to the account which the prophet gives of some who work evil upon their beds, and when the morning is light they practise it, and are laid under a woe for it, Mic_2:1. In the night Christ appeared to Paul to protect him, and, when it was day, here were forty men appearing against him to destroy him; they were not up so soon but Christ was up before them God shall help her, and that right early, Psa_46:5.
3. What the conspiracy was. These men banded together in a league, perhaps they called it a holy league; they engaged to stand by one another, and every one, to his power, to be aiding and assisting to murder Paul. It was strange that so many could so soon be got together, and that in Jerusalem too, who were so perfectly lost to all sense of humanity and honour as to engage in so bloody a design. Well might the prophet's complaint be renewed concerning Jerusalem (Isa_1:21): Righteousness has lodged in it, but now murderers. What a monstrous idea must these men have formed of Paul, before they could be capable of forming such a monstrous design against him; they must be made to believe that he was the worst of men, an enemy to God and religion, and the curse and plague of his generation; when really his character was the reverse of all this! What laws of truth and justice so sacred, so strong which malice and bigotry will not break through!

Paul’s Escape from Jerusalem for the last time.

Jerusalem >Antipatris> Caesurea
Act 23:16  But Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, and he came and entered into the castle, and told Paul.  

Act 23:17  And Paul called unto him one of the centurions, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath something to tell him.
Act 23:18  So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and saith, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and asked me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say to thee.
Act 23:19  And the chief captain took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, What is that thou hast to tell me?
Act 23:20  And he said, The Jews have agreed to ask thee to bring down Paul tomorrow unto the council, as though thou wouldest inquire somewhat more exactly concerning him.
Act 23:21  Do not thou therefore yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves under a curse, neither to eat nor to drink till they have slain him: and now are they ready, looking for the promise from thee.
Act 23:22  So the chief captain let the young man go, charging him, Tell no man that thou hast signified these things to me.

That very night Paul was taken to Caesurea with an escort of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen where he was handed over to Governor Felix.

Conclusion: Many are the troubles of the righteous, but some way or other, the Lord delivereth them out of them all. God is able to bring the hidden things to light and make conspirators’ own tongues betray them, and above all to make the persecutions of His servants to turn to the wider spread of the Gospel.
Key Word: Dissension (Act_23:7) and conspiracy (Act_23:13).
Strong Verses: Act_23:11.

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