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 23.31-35.
The first leg of Paul’s journey to Rome is complete. It’s probably the case that Paul didn’t know this situation would end him up in Rome, although it’s possible he may have hoped it would. He certainly, as we shall see, will soon enough play his citizenship trump card to get himself there.
1. Felix received him and inquired about his citizenship and provenance, and promised a hearing once his accusers had arrived. Perfectly orderly: Felix wouldn’t hear the case, or any more of the details than what Claudius related, until all parties were present. Roman order in the service of the Gospel. Should Christians try to use civil law and government to the advantage of the Gospel? Explain.
2. Paul was kept in a prison in Herod’s palace, which probably suggests he was not regarded as a threat. He would have been safe there and would enjoy considerable deference and hospitality for two years. Meanwhile, we can only wonder about those poor, hungry blokes back in Jerusalem. Why do you suppose the Lord was giving Paul this “time off” from active ministry? Was it really time off, or just a change of venue and procedure? Explain.
3. Again we can see that Luke is a reliable historian. His attention to details – Roman protocol, places, individual people, contemporary social protocols, laws – help to bring reality to his story. Sometimes I get the impression Christians think the events of the Bible occurred in some kind of time other than the time/space continuum in which we live – “Bible time”, or something like that. Do you ever feel that way? Explain.
4. But the Kingdom of God unfolds in real time, real history, and all history’s players and places are at the Lord’s disposal for His Kingdom purposes. Amazing. Do you consider yourself to be at the Lord’s disposal for His Kingdom purposes at all times? Explain.
5. In what ways can you see the Lord using the players and places of history to advance His Kingdom today?
The action slows down a bit and we catch our breath as we await the next stage of this ongoing conflict. We’re not hearing much from Paul at this stage, but we know he must be thinking about what’s going to happen next. How do you imagine Paul managed to hold up under all this pressure and uncertainty? What counsel is there for us in his example?
Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your strength.
Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen up against me,
And oppressors have sought after my life;
They have not set God before them. Selah
Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
Cut them off in Your truth.
I will freely sacrifice to You;
I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good.
For He has delivered me out of all trouble;
And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.
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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