December 12, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Acts 23-24
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Context: Chapter 23 is a fascinating chapter. We see how God uses events in Paul’s life to further His cause. This chapter begins with Paul defending himself before the Sanhedrin and Pharisees and unintentionally insulting the high priest, Ananias. Paul failed at something many of us fail at everyday, holding our tongues. Although Paul was correct, the manner in which he responded was disrespectful. Paul apologized for his remark when he realized his error and then switched tactics. He turned the Pharisees and Sanhedrin against each other! As Paul learned the following night, his situation was going to be used to spread the Word to Rome, something Paul had been eager to do. Due to a threat on Paul’s life, the military commander had Paul moved, under the cover of darkness. It sounds like the plot of a movie! After Paul had been taken to the governor, Felix, he is given the chance to defend himself. His accusers are also present, attempting to convict him. This time, Paul remains calm and becomes a witness. Felix, like Pilate with Jesus, failed to act and do what he knew he should do. Felix left Paul in prison, although with several freedoms. This imprisonment though, provided Paul the opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ. God often works in our lives in ways that we do not expect or always understand, but, when an opportunity to witness presents itself, we should always take advantage of the opportunity.
World History: Ananias, the high priest in this chapter, was appointed in AD 48 and served for approximately 10 years. Ananias was known for bribery and plundering the temple offerings. He was assassinated in AD 66 by Jewish guerrillas.