You Deserve To Die

“And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.” Acts 23:2

Today’s scripture reading, “Acts 22:24-23:11,” plunges us in the midst of a vicious time in the ministry of Paul. Paul has returned to Jerusalem because of God’s direction in his life. He comes with a relief offering for the saints.  While there the Jews take him by force and would have pulled him apart had it not been for the Roman authority.

In the text before us, Paul is brought before the Jewish tribunal which is made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees.  It is enough to know that the Jews hated Paul and they would go to any extreme to kill Paul.

In the midst of this ordeal, Paul receives a visitor.  Here is Luke’s narrative: “The following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” Acts 23:11.

I hope you realize this visitor is Jesus.  In his darkest moment Jesus comes to Paul.  Here Paul was facing death and Jesus shows up.  I don’t know if you understand the magnitude of all of this?  But for me, my heart leaps as I realize what a picture this is of Jesus coming to a dark world to deliver those who deserve to die.

Jesus reminds Paul that he would complete what God ordained to happen.  This night, Paul would be able to rest in the strength of Jesus words.  Brothers and sisters there is always power in Jesus words.  When Jesus speaks things happen.  Consider the tomb of Lazarus where Jesus speaks, “Lazarus come forth.”  Jesus word’s have power, “He came forth.”

Question, “Has someone or some circumstances moved you from your place of confidence in Christ?”  Maybe you are like Paul, hearing words from people who are saying, “you deserve to die?” In these moments you must look to the Author and Finisher of your faith, “Jesus Christ.” Listen to His word because He has the final word.

I must confess that I needed to hear these words this morning as I face the challenges of a new day.  I truly believe you need to hear his words today.  So, I encourage you to hit the pause button on your busy mind and take some time to listen to His word.  Allow me to suggest that you read the book of Philippians or the book of I Peter.  Also check out II Timothy 4:17.

Oh how I praise God that Jesus came and stood by me and stood in my place before the wrath of God.  Because he stood for me, I can now stand for him and with him in the day of Judgment.

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