As Acts informs us, Paul, having traveled extensively for years, longed to visit
In today’s passage we have the continuation of a story of such opposition. Some Jewish people from the province of
When Paul revealed he was a Roman citizen, the commander halted the flogging. Instead, he put Paul before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, for interrogation. Paul again took the opportunity to affirm his hope in the resurrection. For Paul this meant first the resurrection of Jesus – God’s vindication of Jesus as savior and lord. Second, it meant Paul’s hope for himself after death. Paul’s continuing witness to Jesus roiled the Sanhedrin and put him at risk of further violence. The military commander hustled Paul back to confinement in the barracks.
What did God do in response? Jesus appeared to Paul under arrest and told him to take courage. As Paul had witnessed to Jesus in
Some Christians today seem to advertise a Jesus who died to help us succeed in life without really suffering. Paul knew better. He knew Jesus died to reconcile us to God. He knew Jesus deserved our faithful devotion even if it led to suffering and death. By his own faithfulness to God, Jesus taught Paul this. Paul knew better. May God help us and all who profess Jesus to true faithfulness and witness – not to succeed in the world but to live in the only kingdom worthy of true hope.