Daily Reflection

Daily Reflection

Friday 25th September, 2020

by Rev. Norman Cardwell

Please read Acts 23:12-35

An unholy alliance

 

      Yesterday we read how the Roman commander rescued Paul from death once again. The next day forty Jews swore a solemn oath to kill Paul. They planned with the Sanhedrin who were to request the Roman commander to bring Paul to answer more questions. On his way to the council through the streets they would murder him. Let’s review this. Religious leaders plan to LIE and to DECEIVE the Roman commander, break their own LAWS by instigating this plan and commit MURDER, ALL IN THE NAME OF GOD. This unholy alliance presents the worst of religious witness.

      The plot fails when Paul’s nephew hears someone speak of the plan to kill Paul. He reported to Paul who sent his nephew to speak to the Roman commander (we recognise of course that God works through all circumstances). The commander reacts immediately. From his perspective, he would suffer enormously possibly even losing his own life should Paul, a Roman citizen, be murdered whilst in his charge. His decision is to send Paul to the provincial governor, Festus, in Caesarea before anything else would happen. He wrote a letter to Festus indicating that Paul was accused of breaking Jewish religious law but not guilty of anything in the context of Roman civil or criminal law. The letter protected both Paul and the commander in the actions taken.

      The Roman commander, Claudius Lysias, must have been astounded at the actions of this group of holy people, who, when they wanted an enemy destroyed, were willing to dispense with all reasonable and required behaviour. They were far from God and far from impressing those who looked on. And the punchline – these were the same people who would later on have the audacity to travel to the Roman court of Felix seeking to prosecute Paul on a capital charge of having broken the law (chapter 25 – details will be given on another day).

      On another level how do our words and actions represent our loving Heavenly Father? On many occasions the New Testament encourages and directs us to be more Christ-like. Perhaps we find this ‘easier’ when things go well. In times of difficulty, however, we need to maintain a solid Christian witness to all around us. Our attitude, emotions, words and actions must always reflect the light and love of Jesus. May the strength of the Holy Spirit replace our weakness in living for Jesus every day.

 

Prayer:

Gracious and loving God help us to be authentic representatives for You. Forgive us when at times we are hypocritical. Let us repent and so know Your forgiveness and then delight in the empowering of the Holy Spirit to live for You. For the glory of Jesus we pray. Amen

 

Hymn: I am weak, but Thou art strong;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4mu5PsUa2g

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

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