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Friday, June 24 2016
Acts 23: The Messiah's Appearances To Paul Before And After The Crucifixion
"The LORD stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome"
Saul was an as-yet unbelieving Jerusalem Pharisee at the time of the Messiah's Ministry and Crucifixion (see Why Was The South A Dangerous Place?). It's certain that Saul, who later became known as the apostle Paul after his conversion on the road to Damascus, and Jesus met numerous times. It's the obvious reason that, when the LORD struck Paul down, that He used the "remember Me?" tone in His answer to Paul's "Who art thou, Lord?": "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest" i.e. I man Jesus, Who you persecuted.
The Messiah and Paul had many meetings before the Crucifixion (see Paul's Blindness Lesson) - and, as we will read, many more afterward.
"9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
The LORD sent a Christian of Damascus, Ananias, to baptize Paul after his conversion (see also Where Believers Were First Called Christians). It was then also that the LORD declared His purpose for Paul: "For he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." It was a mission that Paul was born to do: "1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace." (Galatians 1:15 KJV).
"9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 9:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
Upon his return from his first three missionary journeys (see The First Voyage Of Barnabas and Saul and The Return Of The Home Town Apostles; also Paul's First Mission To Greece and The Way To Corinth; also The Miracles At Ephesus and The Idol Pedlars and Eutychus - Rising From The Sleep Of Death), the LORD assigned Paul to a fourth major missionary journey - to the very capital of the Roman world.
It would happen by means of Paul's own Roman citizenship (see Why Didn't The Romans Torture The Apostle Paul?) that was imposed upon him because of his birth in Roman-occupied Turkey. Although he was caused to be arrested by the not-yet believers religious people in Jerusalem, it was his being in custody of the Roman military that would deliver him right to the Caesar in Rome. The LORD appeared again to Paul, while in Roman custody, with his reassurance and his orders: "The Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome."
"23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. 23:2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. 23:3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
The greatest irony is that the Roman military would protect Paul on his mission against them.
"23:12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 23:13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. 23:14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. 23:15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
So it was that Paul was delivered to the Mediterranean coastal city of Caesarea to begin the legal trial that would take him all the way to Rome.
"23:23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; 23:24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.
This Day In History, June 24
109: The Aqua Traiana was inaugurated by Roman Emperor Trajan. The aqueduct delivers water from Lake Bracciano, 40 kilometers / 25 miles from Rome.
637: The Battle of Moira, the largest battle in the history of Ireland. The High King of Ireland fought the Kings of Ulster and Dalriada.
1292: Adolf of Nassau was crowned as German king at Aachen.
1310: Solomon ben Abraham Adret died at age 75. The religious leader of Spanish Jews of his time, he is remembered partly for his 1305 decree threatening to excommunicate all Jews under 30 (except medical students) who studied philosophy or science (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism).
1322: Jews were expelled from France (see also Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings).
1340: During the Hundred Years war, the British fleet battled the French at Sluys.
1441: Eton College in England was founded by King Henry VI.
1497: John Cabot, navigator and explorer, sighted Cape Breton Island and claimed North America for England.
1509: Henry VIII was crowned king of England, the second monarch from the House of Tudor.
1527: King Gustavus of Sweden assembled the Diet of Wester's for the purpose of carrying through the Protestant Reformation in Sweden.
1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier landed on what is today Prince Edward Island, Canada.
1604: Samuel de Champlain discovered the mouth of the Saint John River, site of Reversing Falls and the present day city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
1611: Henry Hudson, his son, and several sick men were set adrift in present-day Hudson Bay by mutineers. After more than a year at sea, many of the crew of Hudson's ship, the Discovery, turned into cowardly, unpatriotic rebels and refused to go any further. Nothing is known of Hudson's fate.
1664: New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey in Britain's Channel Islands, was founded.
1812: During the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River, thereby beginning the invasion of Russia.
1813: The Battle of Beaver Dams during the War of 1812 (1812-1814). After being warned by Laura Secord of an impending U.S. attack on a British outpost at Beaver Dams, about 500 U.S. invaders, including their commander, were taken prisoner after a firefight. The site of the battle was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1921.
1916: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the First Battle of the Somme began. More than 1 million men were killed during the five-month battle.
1947: U.S. pilot Ken Arnold reported seeing strange objects in the sky over Mount Rainier (in Washington State) looking like "saucers skipping across the water." The incident led to the first use of the term "flying saucers."
1948: The Soviet Union began the Berlin Blockade.
1985: Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became the first Arab, and first Muslim, in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
1994: The European Union and Russia signed a landmark friendship accord in Corfu, Greece.
2002: The Igandu train disaster in Tanzania killed 281 people, the worst train accident in African history.