Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When c the seven days were almost completed, d the Jews from Asia, e seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who f is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and g the law and g this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and h has defiled g this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen i Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and j dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 j And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of k the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 l He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him m to be bound n with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 o Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into p the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, q “Away with him!” Paul Speaks to the People 37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not r the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out s into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, t “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, u motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in v the Hebrew language, 1 saying: 22 1 w “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in x the Hebrew language, 1 they became even more quiet. And he said: 3 y “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated z at the feet of a Gamaliel 1 b according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, c being zealous for God d as all of you are this day. 4 e I persecuted f this Way g to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as h the high priest and i the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to j the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 k “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am l Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 m Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand 1 the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, n ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. 12 “And o one Ananias, a devout man p according to the law, q well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 r came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And s at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, t ‘The God of our fathers u appointed you to know his will, v to see w the Righteous One and x to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for y you will be a witness for him to everyone of what z you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? a Rise and be baptized and b wash away your sins, c calling on his name.’ 17 d “When I had returned to Jerusalem and e was praying in the temple, I fell into f a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, g ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another h I imprisoned and i beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen j your witness was being shed, k I myself was standing by and l approving and k watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you m far away to the Gentiles.’ ” Paul and the Roman Tribune 22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, n “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For o he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into p the barracks, saying that he should be q examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, 1 Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog r a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about s to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also t was afraid, u for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that v he had bound him. Paul Before the Council 30 But on the next day, w desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them. 23 1 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, x I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” 2 And the high priest y Ananias commanded those who stood by him z to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you a whitewashed b wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet c contrary to the law you c order me to be struck?” 4 Those who stood by said, “Would you revile d God’s high priest?” 5 And Paul said, e “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, f ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” 6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were g Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, h I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is i with respect to the j hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees k say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 Then a great clamor arose, and some of l the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, m “We find nothing wrong in this man. What n if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into o the barracks. 11 p The following night q the Lord stood by him and said, r “Take courage, for s as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must t testify also in Rome.” A Plot to Kill Paul 12 When it was day, u the Jews made a plot and v bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.” 16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered w 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 x 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, y “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 z 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.” 22 So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of these things.” Paul Sent to Felix the Governor 23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. 1 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to a Felix b the governor.” 25 And he wrote a letter to this effect: 26 “Claudius Lysias, to c his Excellency the governor Felix, d greetings. 27 e This man was seized by the Jews and f was about to be killed by them f when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, g having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And h desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. 29 I found that he was being accused i about questions of their law, but j charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 k And when it was disclosed to me l that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, m ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.” 31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the next day they returned to n the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. 33 When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked what o province he was from. And when he learned p that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing q when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s r praetorium.
27 Ὡς δὲ ἔμελλον αἱ ἑπτὰ ἡμέραι συντελεῖσθαι, οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἀσίας Ἰουδαῖοι θεασάμενοι αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ συνέχεον πάντα τὸν ὄχλον καὶ ἐπέβαλον ἐπʼ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας 28 κράζοντες• ἄνδρες Ἰσραηλῖται, βοηθεῖτε• οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ κατὰ τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ τοῦ νόμου καὶ τοῦ τόπου τούτου πάντας πανταχῇ διδάσκων, ἔτι τε καὶ Ἕλληνας εἰσήγαγεν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ κεκοίνωκεν τὸν ἅγιον τόπον τοῦτον. 29 ἦσαν γὰρ προεωρακότες Τρόφιμον τὸν Ἐφέσιον ἐν τῇ πόλει σὺν αὐτῷ, ὃν ἐνόμιζον ὅτι εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν εἰσήγαγεν ὁ Παῦλος. 30 ἐκινήθη τε ἡ πόλις ὅλη καὶ ἐγένετο συνδρομὴ τοῦ λαοῦ, καὶ ἐπιλαβόμενοι τοῦ Παύλου εἷλκον αὐτὸν ἔξω τοῦ ἱεροῦ καὶ εὐθέως ἐκλείσθησαν αἱ θύραι. 31 Ζητούντων τε αὐτὸν ἀποκτεῖναι ἀνέβη φάσις τῷ χιλιάρχῳ τῆς σπείρης ὅτι ὅλη συγχύννεται Ἰερουσαλήμ. 32 ὃς ἐξαυτῆς παραλαβὼν στρατιώτας καὶ ἑκατοντάρχας κατέδραμεν ἐπʼ αὐτούς, οἱ δὲ ἰδόντες τὸν χιλίαρχον καὶ τοὺς στρατιώτας ἐπαύσαντο τύπτοντες τὸν Παῦλον. 33 τότε ἐγγίσας ὁ χιλίαρχος ἐπελάβετο αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκέλευσεν δεθῆναι ἁλύσεσιν δυσίν, καὶ ἐπυνθάνετο τίς εἴη καὶ τί ἐστιν πεποιηκώς. 34 ἄλλοι δὲ ἄλλο τι ἐπεφώνουν ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ. μὴ δυναμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ γνῶναι τὸ ἀσφαλὲς διὰ τὸν θόρυβον ἐκέλευσεν ἄγεσθαι αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν παρεμβολήν. 35 ὅτε δὲ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀναβαθμούς, συνέβη βαστάζεσθαι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν στρατιωτῶν διὰ τὴν βίαν τοῦ ὄχλου, 36 ἠκολούθει γὰρ τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ λαοῦ κράζοντες• αἶρε αὐτόν. 37 Μέλλων τε εἰσάγεσθαι εἰς τὴν παρεμβολὴν ὁ Παῦλος λέγει τῷ χιλιάρχῳ• εἰ ἔξεστίν μοι εἰπεῖν τι πρὸς σέ; ὁ δὲ ἔφη• Ἑλληνιστὶ γινώσκεις; 38 οὐκ ἄρα σὺ εἶ ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ὁ πρὸ τούτων τῶν ἡμερῶν ἀναστατώσας καὶ ἐξαγαγὼν εἰς τὴν ἔρημον τοὺς τετρακισχιλίους ἄνδρας τῶν σικαρίων; 39 εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Παῦλος• ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος μέν εἰμι Ἰουδαῖος, Ταρσεὺς τῆς Κιλικίας, οὐκ ἀσήμου πόλεως πολίτης• δέομαι δέ σου, ἐπίτρεψόν μοι λαλῆσαι πρὸς τὸν λαόν. 40 ἐπιτρέψαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ὁ Παῦλος ἑστὼς ἐπὶ τῶν ἀναβαθμῶν κατέσεισεν τῇ χειρὶ τῷ λαῷ. πολλῆς δὲ σιγῆς γενομένης προσεφώνησεν τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ λέγων• 22 1 Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ καὶ πατέρες, ἀκούσατέ μου τῆς πρὸς ὑμᾶς νυνὶ ἀπολογίας. 2 ἀκούσαντες δὲ ὅτι τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ προσεφώνει αὐτοῖς, μᾶλλον παρέσχον ἡσυχίαν. καὶ φησίν• 3 ἐγώ εἰμι ἀνὴρ Ἰουδαῖος, γεγεννημένος ἐν Ταρσῷ τῆς Κιλικίας, ἀνατεθραμμένος δὲ ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ, παρὰ τοὺς πόδας Γαμαλιὴλ πεπαιδευμένος κατὰ ἀκρίβειαν τοῦ πατρῴου νόμου, ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τοῦ θεοῦ καθὼς πάντες ὑμεῖς ἐστε σήμερον• 4 ὃς ταύτην τὴν ὁδὸν ἐδίωξα ἄχρι θανάτου δεσμεύων καὶ παραδιδοὺς εἰς φυλακὰς ἄνδρας τε καὶ γυναῖκας, 5 ὡς καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς μαρτυρεῖ μοι καὶ πᾶν τὸ πρεσβυτέριον, παρʼ ὧν καὶ ἐπιστολὰς δεξάμενος πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς εἰς Δαμασκὸν ἐπορευόμην, ἄξων καὶ τοὺς ἐκεῖσε ὄντας δεδεμένους εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ ἵνα τιμωρηθῶσιν. 6 Ἐγένετο δέ μοι πορευομένῳ καὶ ἐγγίζοντι τῇ Δαμασκῷ περὶ μεσημβρίαν ἐξαίφνης ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ περιαστράψαι φῶς ἱκανὸν περὶ ἐμέ, 7 ἔπεσά τε εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος καὶ ἤκουσα φωνῆς λεγούσης μοι• Σαοὺλ Σαούλ, τί με διώκεις; 8 ἐγὼ δὲ ἀπεκρίθην• τίς εἶ, κύριε; εἶπέν τε πρός με• ἐγώ εἰμι Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος, ὃν σὺ διώκεις. 9 οἱ δὲ σὺν ἐμοὶ ὄντες τὸ μὲν φῶς ἐθεάσαντο τὴν δὲ φωνὴν οὐκ ἤκουσαν τοῦ λαλοῦντός μοι. 10 εἶπον δέ• τί ποιήσω, κύριε; ὁ δὲ κύριος εἶπεν πρός με• ἀναστὰς πορεύου εἰς Δαμασκὸν κἀκεῖ σοι λαληθήσεται περὶ πάντων ὧν τέτακταί σοι ποιῆσαι. 11 ὡς δὲ οὐκ ἐνέβλεπον ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τοῦ φωτὸς ἐκείνου, χειραγωγούμενος ὑπὸ τῶν συνόντων μοι ἦλθον εἰς Δαμασκόν. 12 Ἁνανίας δέ τις, ἀνὴρ εὐλαβὴς κατὰ τὸν νόμον, μαρτυρούμενος ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν κατοικούντων Ἰουδαίων, 13 ἐλθὼν πρός με καὶ ἐπιστὰς εἶπέν μοι• Σαοὺλ ἀδελφέ, ἀνάβλεψον. κἀγὼ αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἀνέβλεψα εἰς αὐτόν. 14 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν• ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν προεχειρίσατό σε γνῶναι τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἰδεῖν τὸν δίκαιον καὶ ἀκοῦσαι φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, 15 ὅτι ἔσῃ μάρτυς αὐτῷ πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὧν ἑώρακας καὶ ἤκουσας. 16 καὶ νῦν τί μέλλεις; ἀναστὰς βάπτισαι καὶ ἀπόλουσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ. 17 Ἐγένετο δέ μοι ὑποστρέψαντι εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ προσευχομένου μου ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ γενέσθαι με ἐν ἐκστάσει 18 καὶ ἰδεῖν αὐτὸν λέγοντά μοι• σπεῦσον καὶ ἔξελθε ἐν τάχει ἐξ Ἰερουσαλήμ, διότι οὐ παραδέξονταί σου μαρτυρίαν περὶ ἐμοῦ. 19 κἀγὼ εἶπον• κύριε, αὐτοὶ ἐπίστανται ὅτι ἐγὼ ἤμην φυλακίζων καὶ δέρων κατὰ τὰς συναγωγὰς τοὺς πιστεύοντας ἐπὶ σέ, 20 καὶ ὅτε ἐξεχύννετο τὸ αἷμα Στεφάνου τοῦ μάρτυρός σου, καὶ αὐτὸς ἤμην ἐφεστὼς καὶ συνευδοκῶν καὶ φυλάσσων τὰ ἱμάτια τῶν ἀναιρούντων αὐτόν. 21 καὶ εἶπεν πρός με• πορεύου, ὅτι ἐγὼ εἰς ἔθνη μακρὰν ἐξαποστελῶ σε. 22 Ἤκουον δὲ αὐτοῦ ἄχρι τούτου τοῦ λόγου καὶ ἐπῆραν τὴν φωνὴν αὐτῶν λέγοντες• αἶρε ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς τὸν τοιοῦτον, οὐ γὰρ καθῆκεν αὐτὸν ζῆν. 23 κραυγαζόντων τε αὐτῶν καὶ ῥιπτούντων τὰ ἱμάτια καὶ κονιορτὸν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸν ἀέρα, 24 ἐκέλευσεν ὁ χιλίαρχος εἰσάγεσθαι αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν παρεμβολήν, εἴπας μάστιξιν ἀνετάζεσθαι αὐτὸν ἵνα ἐπιγνῷ διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν οὕτως ἐπεφώνουν αὐτῷ. 25 ὡς δὲ προέτειναν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἱμᾶσιν, εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν ἑστῶτα ἑκατόνταρχον ὁ Παῦλος• εἰ ἄνθρωπον Ῥωμαῖον καὶ ἀκατάκριτον ἔξεστιν ὑμῖν μαστίζειν; 26 ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ ἑκατοντάρχης προσελθὼν τῷ χιλιάρχῳ ἀπήγγειλεν λέγων• τί μέλλεις ποιεῖν; ὁ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος ʼΡωμαῖός ἐστιν. 27 προσελθὼν δὲ ὁ χιλίαρχος εἶπεν αὐτῷ• λέγε μοι, σὺ Ῥωμαῖος εἶ; ὁ δὲ ἔφη• ναί. 28 ἀπεκρίθη δὲ ὁ χιλίαρχος• ἐγὼ πολλοῦ κεφαλαίου τὴν πολιτείαν ταύτην ἐκτησάμην. ὁ δὲ Παῦλος ἔφη• ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ γεγέννημαι. 29 εὐθέως οὖν ἀπέστησαν ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ οἱ μέλλοντες αὐτὸν ἀνετάζειν, καὶ ὁ χιλίαρχος δὲ ἐφοβήθη ἐπιγνοὺς ὅτι Ῥωμαῖός ἐστιν καὶ ὅτι αὐτὸν ἦν δεδεκώς. 30 Τῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον βουλόμενος γνῶναι τὸ ἀσφαλές, τὸ τί κατηγορεῖται ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἔλυσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐκέλευσεν συνελθεῖν τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ πᾶν τὸ συνέδριον, καὶ καταγαγὼν τὸν Παῦλον ἔστησεν εἰς αὐτούς. 23 1 Ἀτενίσας δὲ ὁ Παῦλος τῷ συνεδρίῳ εἶπεν• ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ πάσῃ συνειδήσει ἀγαθῇ πεπολίτευμαι τῷ θεῷ ἄχρι ταύτης τῆς ἡμέρας. 2 ὁ δὲ ἀρχιερεὺς Ἁνανίας ἐπέταξεν τοῖς παρεστῶσιν αὐτῷ τύπτειν αὐτοῦ τὸ στόμα. 3 τότε ὁ Παῦλος πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπεν• τύπτειν σε μέλλει ὁ θεός, τοῖχε κεκονιαμένε• καὶ σὺ κάθῃ κρίνων με κατὰ τὸν νόμον καὶ παρανομῶν κελεύεις με τύπτεσθαι; 4 οἱ δὲ παρεστῶτες εἶπαν• τὸν ἀρχιερέα τοῦ θεοῦ λοιδορεῖς; 5 ἔφη τε ὁ Παῦλος• οὐκ ᾔδειν, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀρχιερεύς• γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι ἄρχοντα τοῦ λαοῦ σου οὐκ ἐρεῖς κακῶς. 6 Γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Παῦλος ὅτι τὸ ἓν μέρος ἐστὶν Σαδδουκαίων τὸ δὲ ἕτερον Φαρισαίων ἔκραζεν ἐν τῷ συνεδρίῳ• ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ Φαρισαῖός εἰμι, υἱὸς Φαρισαίων, περὶ ἐλπίδος καὶ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν [ἐγὼ] κρίνομαι.
The Lord Jesus protects Paul and guides his way onwards towards Rome Like a movie; one crisis after another. But like waves, they carry Paul onwards to Rome under the providential hand of God - eg Acts 23.11. What if the waves aren't crushing and destroying you, but carrying you along step by step until you reach the heavenly shores of Jesus' new creation? We see on the one hand, the brutal lengths that humanity will go to to preserve and defend a lie - in this case, a religious idol. And on the other hand, the total control of God working over and through the violence and plots to extend the fame of his Son. Definitions of providence, LBCF chapter V: 2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. 7. As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof. Glory of God: he really is in control (Ps 46) FCF: Fear, panic, despondency. [Imagine coming to church and a mob trying to kill you? Or learning about a plot to kill you?] Jesus - forewarns us. Is an example to us in trial and suffering. Gives us precious words and promises to lean upon within it. Suffers the true and only abandonment, so that we might never ever be. Dies in the valley of the shadow of death, so that we will never. And he walks with us, encouraging us by his Spirit - in a special way during times of opposition. NB - how all this differs to a 'persecutory delusion'. This is actual real persecution and trial. 1. Crisis in the temple leads to a speech before the crowd . (21.27-22.21) Misunderstanding, see v28-29. We should be strangely encouraged by all these misunderstandings. Have you been misunderstood? Take heart. Isn't that so often the pattern in ministries! Misunderstandings and uncharitable judgements. And yet, this misunderstanding seems essentially to trigger all the remaining section of Acts; Paul's arrest, trial, travels, etc. Gentiles not allowed in main temple court. 'No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the temple and enclosure. Anyone who is caught trespassing will bear personal responsibility for his ensuing death.' [the Romans had given them permission for this authority to kill in this area] Paul being dragged out of the temple means that the Roman tribune can deal with him - the tribune (in charge of a cohort of 1000 men) couldn't have got any closer. Paul's own testimony underlines that he is innocent, and that he is doing God's will Paul is not the problem, but zealous Jews behaved unjustly His speech is essentially, a) I was where you were v3-5 b) I was called by God v6-14. NB v8 how you treat the church is how you treat Jesus. c) I was called to be a witness to the nations v15-21 v1 brothers and fathers. Like Stephen etc. The appeal that they are of the same faith, promises, and people...if they would but see that Jesus is their Christ! v3 strict manner of the law...alternatively, precise handling of the law? Could Paul's point be, he was really well trained by the best of teachers (and we are grateful for that). v7-8 Jesus identifies with His church. Why are you persecuting ME, He says. And then again, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting. What is done to Christians is done to Jesus. Also striking that He does not simply say, I am Jesus, but Jesus of Nazareth. The risen, glorified, enthroned Christ identifies as a human being from a particular place. He has in no way lost His humanity or His ability to relate to us. 2. Crisis with the crowd and imminent flogging leads to speech before the council (22.22-23.11) They listen, up until Stephen. Presumably there are people there who had been involved in lynching him, and don't want to hear about it? Or, simply the mention of gentiles. Roman citizenship point. Cicero, 'To bind a Roman citizen is a crime, to flog him an abomination, to slay him almost an act of murder.' It's as if Paul has a set of cards in his 'life'; and he plays every single one of them as an agent of Jesus Christ - including his citizenship. Sanhedrin were advisors to the tribune. v23.3 whitewashed wall (cf Jesus, whitewashed tomb) - to strike contrary to Jewish law. Here an inherent example of idolatry and unrighteousness; even if their doctrine is all neatly sewn up like a manicured lawn, their manner shows they are wrong; they think they are justified in acting unrighteously. How Paul handles the council; is he a mere pragmatist? V6-10 savvy move by Paul. Again, God's opponents are united only in their rebellion against God. There is always immense disunity among the factions. V9 ironic,those prepared to kill him are prepared to say he was spoken to by an angel, in order to keep their presumed higher ground. They will do and say anything to maintain their theological system idol. v11 The Lord gives courage, again 3. Crisis of their conspiracy leads to his journey to Caesarea (23.12-35) Justice moving too slowly for them; they want to take matters into their own hands. (again cf Psalm 2) v12-22 this whole episode - about the conspiracy (v13) - just boasts the Lord Jesus' sovereign hand to protect and orchestrate all things to frustrate His opponents. In many ways this was a fool proof plan! Yet a seemingly obscure, nameless boy overhears, and then the Lord opens every door for him to get the message right to the very top man effortlessly. The best mankind can do is covert espionage paranoia, and conspiracy (cf latter days of King Saul); yet the eyes of the LORD are everywhere, seeing everything. Do not fight Him! Shows the high priest to be a whitewashed wall. He deceives, and violates the law he is supposed to represent and defend. [cf le Carre or Lee Child novels] 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, 200 spearmen. This is resource-heavy! v23-27 massive response of force! 200 soldiers, 200 spearmen, 70 horsemen! He really took this threat seriously; it goes to show what a force jewish conservatives were at this time, and how ready Roman authorities were to show who's boss. The letter - like Pilate - declares Paul to be innocent! v29 Repeating pattern - as with Jesus, and with so many saints through the years - of being 'passed up the chain' of human authorities, and nothing substantially illegal or unlawful being found. Yet the expediency of doing away with the hassle or the unwanted witness to truth often proves the deciding factor. To go to Caesarea, where the Roman governor had his seat. Felix at this point, a man unpopular with the Jews, and thought to be unjust. Persuaded Drusilla to divorce her husband and marry him. Paul will be in prison for two years here, over the coming chapters. Ironically, it's both custody and protection - the gracious and wise providence of God. God's clear protection. Why do the nations rage? Glory of God: he really is in control (Ps 46) FCF: Fear, panic, despondency Jesus - forewarns us. Is an example to us in trial and suffering. Gives us precious words and promises to lean upon within it. Suffers the true and only abandonment, so that we might never ever be. Dies in the valley of the shadow of death, so that we will never. And he walks with us, encouraging us by his Spirit - in a special way during times of opposition. NB - how all this differs to a 'persecutory delusion' Repent and believe. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace; behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face. Bling unbelief is bound to err and scan his work in vain; God is his own interpreter and he will make it plain. Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, the clouds you so much dread are rich in mercy and will break in blessings on your head. I.e., turn from fear and dread, and take courage in the one who died for you, stands for you, stands with you. Conclusion: We see on the one hand, the brutal lengths that humanity will go to to preserve and defend a lie - in this case, a religious idol. And on the other hand, the total control of God working over and through the violence and plots to extend the fame of his Son. Psalms 2 or 46 Lord's Supper - LBCF 30. 7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.