Paul Before the Tribune – Acts 22

Paul was arrested and beaten, and at the close of chapter 22 convinced the Roman tribune to allow him to speak to the mob. When he spoke in Hebrew, it settled them down and they listened. He then gave them a history of himself as a Jew, “educated at the feet of Gamaliel” (a Pharisee and renowned teacher, who was also a member of the Sanhedrin council – see Acts 5:34). He also recounted his own persecution of Christians and the “Way ” (see previous post here for more information on “the Way”); and then told of his encounter with the Lord in Acts 9:3-8, in which he was blinded. The re-telling of that event here in verses 6-11 is not contradictory at all, despite what some say. Those who were with Paul on that road could hear what was said, but were not made to understand.

The toga was the characteristic garment of the...

The toga was the characteristic garment of the Roman citizen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul then turns to Ananias restoring his sight and his subsequent baptism in verses 12-16. But when he told them of his encounter with the Lord, and how He had told Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles (verses 17-21), the crowd became wild with anger again. The tribune ordered him to be flogged in order to find out why they were shouting out against him. But as he was stretched out, Paul told the tribune that he was a Roman citizen by birth (verses 25-28); and the Roman tribune became fearful (Roman law forbade flogging a Roman citizen without a hearing or a formal condemnation). So in verse 30, the chapter ends with the tribune having Paul brought before the Sanhedrin, since scourging was not an option.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Acts 18, Acts 19, Acts 20, Acts 21, Acts 22

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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Paul Before the Sanhedrin – Acts 23

English: St. Paul. From the Acts of the Apostl...

English: St. Paul. From the Acts of the Apostles printed in , Georgia, in 1709 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul had just begun to speak to the Sanhedrin council, when the high priest unlawfully ordered him to be struck (it was unlawful to strike a man who had not yet been condemned). Paul correctly predicts Ananias’ demise in verse 3, as he will be killed by his own people at the start of the Jewish war. There are a lot of theories (total speculation, of course) about verses 4-5 and Paul’s disrespect for Ananias, but whatever the case, we should take Paul at his word that he did not know who he was addressing. It is noteworthy, however, how quick they were to point out that fact, yet ignore the willful violation made against Paul. At that point, he would have no question (if there was doubt before) about whether he would receive a fair hearing from them.

Paul then uses the fact that the Sanhedrin council was made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees to his advantage.  The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, but the Pharisees did – and the division between them because of it was great.  Paul’s statement in verse 6 makes that division so sharp that it became violent.  The Roman tribune then feared that Paul would be torn to pieces, and had the soldiers remove him and take him to the barracks.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Stoning of Stephen – Acts 7

Pietro da Cortona, Stoning of Saint Stephen, 1...

Pietro da Cortona, Stoning of Saint Stephen, 1660. Acts 7:55 says that, as he was dying, Saint Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Stephen prepares to wind down and get to the ultimate point in his history lesson to the Sanhedrin, comes to the house of worship. He speaks of the tabernacle that Moses had built under God’s direction (verse 44, Exodus 25). He speaks of the Israelites bringing it into Canaan under Joshua, where it remained until David’s time. Then Solomon built a house for the Lord. But he reminds them in verses 48-50, that God does not dwell in the temple, and for all its glory, His own hands made everything in it.

He then addresses the council more personally, and speaks of their own vile rejection of “the cornerstone” and their betrayal of God and His son, saying:

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?
And they killed those who announced beforehand
the coming of the Righteous One,
whom you have now betrayed and murdered,
you who received the law as delivered by angels
and did not keep it.”

Stephen had not only turned the tables on his own accusers as having gone against God, but had called them the murderers that they were! Their fury had to have been something to see. Then verses 55-57 read:

But he, full of the Holy Spirit,
gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing pat the right hand of God.
And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened,
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

I believe this is a literal account of what the Spirit showed Stephen before he died. It must have been a most comforting sight, knowing that he would be with the Lord soon. So they dragged him out of the city, and laid their garments at the feet of a man named Saul (stoning was hard, sweaty work) before they stoned Stephen to death.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” to find out about my published and upcoming books, and for a link to my Facebook Author’s Page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

Stephen Preaches On Rejecting God – Acts 7

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stephen continued speaking to the Sanhedrin, tells them that Moses had told the Israelites that “God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18). He tells of Moses’ encounters with the angel of God, of receiving “living oracles” for them from God (the Ten Commandments). And he reminds them how the people rejected this prophet again — how they rejected God, and had Aaron make them the golden calf to worship.

He then reminds them of how God turned away, and quotes from Amos 5:25-27, and 1 Kings 11:7, saying:

‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices,
during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’

The council would like to have believed Stephen to be ignorant, blasphemous, and disrespectful of all that is holy.  His inspired words prove otherwise, and even they cannot deny it. But it’s about to get more personal.

 

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” to find out about my published and upcoming books, and for a link to my Facebook Author’s Page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

Stephen Preaching On Joseph – Acts 7

English: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by P...

English: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stephen’s speech before the Sanhedrin continues with the account of Joseph. He recounts how his brothers were jealous of him and sold him into Egypt. But he says that God was with him — that He gave Joseph favor and wisdom before Pharaoh so that he was made to be a ruler over Egypt. An important point to note here (and in the rest of Stephen’s Spirit-filled account of history) is that in each section of time, Stephen continues to show God’s unfailing love and care in all sorts of circumstances.

He goes on to talk about the famine and how Jacob and his family came to live there after Joseph made himself know to his brothers. Stephen mentions 75 coming to live there, whereas Exodus 1:5 says there were 70. But the differences in the Hebrew and the Septuagint can be explained and they harmonize fine (as if it really matters). A good explanation of that subject can be found in this article at ApologeticsPress.org.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” to find out about my published and upcoming books, and for a link to my Facebook Author’s Page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

A Face Like an Angel – Acts 6

Verses 8-9 tell us of Stephen’s wisdom, grace and power, and the signs and wonders that he worked.  But not everyone was impressed by either his words or the miracles he worked. Verse 9 speaks of different groups from different synagogues that rose up and disputed with him. The Freedmen means just what it sounds like. These were former slaves, who had been freed. The other groups mentioned were from various geographic areas.

The Transfiguration Lodovico Carracci 1594

The Transfiguration Lodovico Carracci 1594 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The point that the text makes is that these groups of Jews not only did not believe, but they were determined to silence him. When they argued with him, Stephen’s wisdom with the word of God, being filled with the Spirit, prevailed. They could not counter Stephen’s wisdom because it was the wisdom of God. So they sent men around secretly, telling the people, the elders, and the scribes that Stephen was speaking blasphemy against Moses and God Himself.

So they arrested him, and spoke their false charges against him, even saying that he was teaching that Jesus would “destroy this place” (meaning the temple), and will “change the customs that Moses brought to us.” The last verse of chapter 6 says that everyone on the council (the Sanhedrin) saw that his face was “like the face of an angel.” We can speculate what that means, but lit is likely that it had a sort of radiance somewhat like Jesus at His transfiguration to some degree. Clearly, it was a remarkable sight to behold.

One would think that itself would have been enough to alert the council that God might have something to do with what was going on. But some people never learn because of their hardened hearts.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Please check out my Books and my Facebook Author’s Page. You will find the links at this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books“.

 

The Arrest of the Twelve – Acts 5

Verses 17-26 are some of the most truly remarkable verses of the Book of Acts. When we last left the apostles, they were teaching in the temple at Solomon’s Portico — the very same place where Peter and John had been arrested for teaching about Jesus. In verse 17, we find the high priest (and the Sadducees with him) “filled with jealousy” toward the apostles for the esteem with which the people held them. So they arrested them, and put them in prison.

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of...

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin council (from Greek synedrion, synhedrion) Русский: Иллюстрация в старинной энциклопедии заседание Синедриона (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But during the night, Luke tells us in verses 19-20, an angel of the Lord came and opened the doors to the prison. He told them to go back to the temple and “speak to the people all the words of this Life.” “This Life,” of course, means of salvation and eternal life. So they are to go back and do the very thing that got them thrown into this prison in the first place. Of course, the apostles did not question the wisdom of this, but went at daybreak and did exactly that.

In the morning, the Sanhedrin council convened, with everyone in their places of authority, and sent for the prisoners. What they found was that the doors to the prison were still locked, with guards outside – but no prisoners! So they returned and reported this to the council. Imagine their incredulity at this disappearing act right under the noses of the guards! They were at a loss at what to do. One might think that at some point here they would realize that they were fighting against the Lord. But remember this the next time you think that a miracle might convince someone of the truth, when the word of God itself does not.

Instead, they sent the captain of the temple with the officers back to the temple, as someone had come and told them where the apostles were. But verse 26 says that they did not bring them back by force because “they were afraid of being stoned by the people.” They should have been afraid of God!

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Please check out my Books and my Facebook Author’s Page. You will find the links at this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books“.

Sanhedrin Releases Peter and John – Acts 4

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of...

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin council (from Greek synedrion, synhedrion) Русский: Иллюстрация в старинной энциклопедии заседание Синедриона (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter’s speech to the Sanhedrin left them in a state of astonishment. Neither Peter nor John were educated men, and they knew it. Yet, Peter had spoken not only eloquently, but had demonstrated his knowledge of scripture as well. To further complicate matters for the Sanhedrin, the formerly lame man who was present was over 40 years old. He was well-known by all to have been lame, so there was no denying the fact that a miracle had been done.

We must not overlook either that by this time, all of the priests, as well as the Sanhedrin council itself, was aware that Jesus had been resurrected. Not only did they have the apostles all proclaiming it and baptizing people in Jesus’ name, but the problem with the empty tomb was there – and the leaders had already paid those who had been guarding it to lie about what happened (Matthew 28:13-15).

And just as Jesus had attracted supporters upon His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, there were conversions being made by baptism in staggering numbers. If the Sanhedrin had been afraid to arrest Jesus in the light of day, they were even more afraid to harm these two, when so many already knew very well what they had done for this lame man. They warned Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus anymore.

But the two of them answered that they would obey God rather than these men. The best that the council could do then was threaten them again before releasing them. The people were openly praising God for what the two apostles had done for the lame man.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Peter Doesn’t Hold Back – Acts 4

Luke says that the morning after Peter and John were arrested, the rulers, elders and scribes met together. This refers to the Sanhedrin council, of course.He mentions Annas as high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander. Annas was actually deposed in 15 A. D. by the Roman Prefect, Valerius Gratus, and Caiaphas his son-in-law, held the official position. But that seemed top mean little to the Jews, and so the two served together basically, with Annas still being deferred to behind the scenes as though nothing had happened in 15 A. D.

Wenceslas Hollar - Jesus before Annas 2

Wenceslas Hollar – Jesus before Annas 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are some who believe that the John mentioned here was Annas’ son, Jonathan, who was successor to Caiaphas. Others think that it was a famous priest of that day named Jochanan ben Zaccai. Alexander may have been Alexander the Alabarch, whose son married Berenice, the daughter of Herod Agrippa [1].

They brought Peter and John before them, and the lame man, who they had healed, was present as well. The council asked them “by what power or by what name” they had done this. Luke tells us that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit when he answered. And in 8-12 he spoke in detail of Jesus’ death,  the fact that God raised Him from the dead, and how there is no other name by which we can be saved. Notice that he quoted Psalms 118:22, as Jesus did in Matthew 21:42::

…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

It is important to notice as well that this same Peter, who denied Jesus three times, boldly tells this same council that condemned the Lord to death that they themselves were culpable for the miscarriage of justice done to the Son of God. Peter was indeed feeding the Lord’s sheep; and he was attempting to feed the “goats” as well (Matthew 25:32).

 

[1] Flavius Josephus, Jewish antiquities 20.100-103

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

He Was Here – Acts 3

Deposition of Christ, 1507, drawing from Roman...

Deposition of Christ, 1507, drawing from Roman sarcophagi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. (Acts 3:17-18)

Peter’s olive branch that he presented to those present in the Portico concerning the death of Jesus also served as an accusation against the “ruler” – the Sanhedrin in particular. But as he said, God had foretold by the prophets that Jesus would suffer. It is true that there are many passages that foretold such a happening. Some estimate the number at about 300. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are two of the most well-known and so obvious concerning what they are all about.

Peter continues to drive home to everyone who will listen that the messiah that they all had waited on for hundreds of years had indeed come already. And rather than rejoice and be glad for His arrival, they had killed Him. It was a hard-hitting blow, and purposely so. What better could there be to get the attention of those that need salvation than to deliver such a message? He had been there, right under their very noses, and they missed Him.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.