Reading for Tuesday, May 8: Acts 23
Two quick thoughts on this chapter:
- Paul’s statement to the council in v1: “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” Paul isn’t claiming perfection; our reading of Romans validates his belief in the universal nature of sin. But he stands fully confident in God’s justifying grace. It allows him to stand before the Lord with a clear conscience. And Paul testifies to this in ch23. What a tremendous example for us — to fully embrace God’s saving grace as foundational to our self-understanding.
- Paul’s devotion to Jesus and His Gospel is constantly putting him at odds with others, particularly the religious leaders of his day. To those who claim to have it “all figured out”, the Gospel is folly. They want to crush Paul, believing that killing him will squash the Jesus Movement. But Luke winks at us as we read, for we see the irony. Just as surely as Jesus conquered the grave, so too will His followers experience God’s resurrecting power to save. Strengthened by the reality of Christ’s resurrection and its promise for us, Paul is emboldened to preach Jesus in spite of life-threatening opposition. I have to ask myself: Has the power of the empty tomb made me a more bold evangelist? If not, perhaps I need to reflect on its import more fully…