And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
The video for lesson 20 is the same as for lesson 17. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).
Read and meditate on Acts 23.23-30.
I rather suspect that Claudius Lysias was happy to learn about this plot to assassinate Paul. It gave him the opportunity he needed for two things: First to handoff the apostle to higher authorities, and second, to flatter the local governor with the suggestion of his superior judging powers. Ah, Roman pragmatism – kings' hearts in the hands of the Lord!
1. Claudius also took the threat seriously, as we see by his mustering nearly 500 soldiers to accompany Paul to Caesarea. How powerful must the Roman garrison in Jerusalem have been, that they could dispatch 500 soldiers north and still have enough power in place to maintain order? How powerful is the Lord Who marshalled the troops of His enemy to do His bidding? Does he marshal forces to guard and guide us?
2. Note Claudius’ opening words to Felix: “Greetings.” Sort of like “Dear ____” today. If you look at Roman correspondence from this period, this is a typical opening line, either “Greetings” or “Greetings and good health.” Compare that with the way Paul began his letters: “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The Gospel changes everything, even down to the most mundane social protocols. How do you express the difference the Gospel makes in your own social protocols?
3. And for the sake of getting the Gospel to Rome, King Jesus mustered Roman military power to begin Paul’s westward journey. How cool is that? The common grace of God was at work in that Roman force, ensuring safe passage for the Lord’s missionary. What are some ways the common grace of God works to the advantage of the Church in our day? How should this affect our prayers?
4. It’s clear the tribune doesn’t understand what all the fuss is concerning Paul. Yes, matters of Jewish law had come into view – Paul had brought them into the fray. But it was for the Gospel that Paul was being threatened with his life. No matter. He was ready to die, if need be, for the faith of King Jesus. Although he must have been not a little amused to see how his plan to go to Rome was beginning to be accomplished. What can we learn from Paul about resting in the Lord’s work ,while we attend to the work He has appointed for us?
5. What does it mean to be “ready to die” for the Gospel? Would you describe yourself as ready to die for the Gospel? Why or why not?
In this story we are seeing just how powerful Jesus is to accomplish His Kingdom purposes. Look at the way He overruled the Jewish court, revealed the plot to assassinate Paul, and mustered the Romans to protect His witness. What should we learn from all this? How should this encourage us in our own calling from the Lord?
Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
You will prolong the king’s life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!
So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
That I may daily perform my vows.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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