Upset with the fact that they had not yet gotten rid of Paul by legal means, a group decided to orchestrate a plan through which they would ambush and kill him on their own.
Read Acts 23:12-17. What was their plan, and how was it thwarted? What does this teach us about how passionate people can be for causes that are wrong?
That more than forty Jews conspired together against Paul and bound themselves with an oath reveals how much hatred the apostle had aroused in Jerusalem. Luke does not give us the identity of these men, but they were extremists willing to do whatever it took to protect the Jewish faith from its alleged traitors and enemies. Such a level of religious fanaticism, coupled with a revolutionary and nationalistic fervor, was not uncommon in first-century Judea and its environs.
In some providential way, however, the news about the plot reached the ears of Paul’s nephew. It is somewhat disappointing that we know almost nothing about Paul’s family, but apparently he and his sister had been brought up in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3), where she married and had at least one son. Anyway, Paul’s nephew—the diminutive neaniskos (Acts 23:18, Acts 23:22) and the fact that he was taken “by the hand (Acts 23:19) imply he was still a teenager—was able to visit him in the fortress and tell him the story.
Read Acts 23:26-30. What message did commander Lysias send governor Felix about Paul?
The letter provided Felix with a fair report of the situation. In addition, it shows how Paul was benefited by his Roman citizenship. The Roman law fully protected its citizens, who had the right, for example, to have a legal trial, in which they could appear before the court and defend themselves (Acts 25:16), and the right to appeal to the emperor in case of an unfair trial (Acts 25:10-11).
Irrespective of Felix’s reputation, he treated Paul in the proper legal manner. After a preliminary interrogation, he ordered him to be kept under guard until the accusers arrived.
|Think about God’s providence in Paul’s life. How often have you humbly acknowledged God’s providence in your own life despite the trials and suffering you might have gone through?|