Read Acts 23
Paul before a divided Jewish High Council (Acts 23:1-11). Kill the man of God (23:12-24). Jews demand his death before Roman rulers: (1) Felix, Roman governor (24:1-27); (2) Festus, new Roman governor (25:1-12); (3) King Agrippa, Roman ruler of Galilee (25:23-27).
Whatever motive Felix, the Roman governor, may have had when he summoned Paul to appear before him, he was aware of the intense hatred of some religious leaders who wanted Paul dead. But their hatred did not cause Paul to tremble or fail to witness for Christ — the very reason they had him arrested. Paul's purpose was not to defend himself or plead for leniency; his purpose was to tell the good news that Christ died for sinners. There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:10,23).
From the Old Testament Scriptures, Paul confirmed Christ's Messiahship. He spoke to them of righteousness that could be received only by faith in Jesus Christ and how Christ alone could bestow within men that righteousness required by the Law. No man can produce it in himself (3:24-25; 8:1-4; Is. 64:6; John 15:5). 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 . . . at Rome (Acts 23:11).
Felix, this Roman judge, was summoned to preside in a matter which affected not only Paul but himself, for he was a guilty sinner. It appears that, at that moment, the Holy Spirit may have convicted Felix to repent of all his sins, but he said: Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee (Acts 24:25). He would postpone his own case as he had postponed Paul's. Let it be noted that whatever good intentions he may have had, the only "convenient" time is now. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (II Cor. 6:2).
Tomorrow he promised his conscience,
Tomorrow I mean to believe.
Tomorrow I'll live as I ought to, Tomorrow my Savior receive.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, Thus day after day it went on.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, Till youth like a vision had gone.
Till age and its passion had written,
The message of "fate" on his brow,
And forth from the shadows came death,
With that pitiful syllable, "now."
Thought for Today:
To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. . . . they could not enter in because of unbelief (Heb. 3:15-19).
23:3 whited wall, whitewashed wall, meaning hypocrite (see Matt. 23:27); 23:23 third hour of the night, 9 p.m.
Pray for Staff: Bill Beach • Government Officials: Rep. John Boehner (Speaker of the House), Sen. James Inhofe (OK), Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), and Gov. Terry Branstad (IA) • Country: Finland (5.2 million) in northern Europe • Major languages: Finnish and Swedish • Religious freedom • 86% Lutheran; 1% Orthodox; 12% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Wait upon the LORD and He will renew your strength (Is. 40:31).
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 6:13