November 12: Acts 20-23
12 When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
16 Now the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.” 19 The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. 21 But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. And now they are ready, waiting for your consent.”
Acts 23:12 & 16-21, ESV
As we return to the books of Acts and the narrative of Paul's journeys we witness of the return of Paul to Jerusalem. Jerusalem has not been kind to Paul since his conversion; as a matter of fact Paul had been warned repeatedly that danger and imprisonment awaited him in Jerusalem. Why, then, did he ignore all of the warnings? How did he respond?
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Romans 20:24, ESV
In Paul, we find a man so focused upon his ministry for the Lord that even the threat of death would not dissuade him from testifying to the Gospel of the grace of God. He had no doubt that he was safely in the hands of His Lord, and that nothing would happen to him apart from the will of God.
The warnings given to Paul proved to be correct; as a matter of fact, when in Jerusalem, more than forty men made a vow to neither eat or drink until they had killed Paul. However, God had other plans for Paul; no ambush could thwart the plans of God. As the narrative continues we learn that Paul leaves Jerusalem as a prisoner, and eventually ends up in Rome.
How, you may ask, does this impact my life? Many of the books of the New Testament were yet to be written, and would be completed while he was imprisoned in Rome. Paul's writings are one of the greatest sources for helping us understand the Christian life and the relationship we have with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh that we would have the faith of Paul! When faced with an ambush leading to a certain death, he did not fear for his life. Oh that we would be so focused in living our life for Christ that no fears, including death, would prevent us from faithfully serving Him every moment of our lives.
With Christmas less than two weeks away, pray that your focus would remain on the true meaning of Christmas and the change it has brought to you, as a Christian, in every single facet of your life. Do not fear the ambush, but fear the God who is able to grant to you eternal life through the death of that little child, born in obscurity in a manger in Bethlehem.
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
God Bless You,