Thank God that Jesus rose from the dead. Pray for a renewed sense of his presence with you each day.
Read Acts 22:30-23:11
 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.  Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”  At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.  Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”  Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”  Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'”  Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”  When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.  (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)  There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”  The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.  The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did God comfort and give assurance to Paul?
Paul is confident that all he has done is obey God’s call (1). In response, he has traveled tirelessly throughout the Mediterranean world. Often he faced difficulty but his sense of calling kept him going. Our calling from God will be different but we have a duty (1) to obey that call. If we do that, we can be sure that we are pleasing God. Paul’s defense is that all he had done was to preach the resurrection (6). The resurrection had been at the center of his message. Why? Because he had met the risen Christ and this had transformed his whole outlook on life. How far has our meeting the risen Christ changed the way we look at the world? What impact has it had on the way we work, worship, engage with friends and think about mission? Paul’s reassurance comes from the Lord (11). There will be no immediate rescue, but–come what may–the Lord will stand by him. That is actually good news, and we can trust God to look after us in similar ways today. The risen Lord Jesus will be with us in all that comes our way and will give us the strength to cope with it.
What is your sense of God’s call on your life? How and how well are you following his call?
Ask God to renew your clear sense of his call on your life and to help you to faithfully follow that call.
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