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Acts 23:12-35 - Homilies By R.a. Redford

Conspiracy defeated.

The " must " of the Lord's midnight message interpreted by events. Divine providence working. The Christian stands still and sees the salvation. The Word of God is instead of human calculations and predictions. How different from fatalism in such a case as Livingstone in the dangers of his African mission reminds us that there is a feeling of confidence in our weakness which is like a vision in the night. Notice—

I. THE GUILT OF FANATICISM . The forty conspirators thought that they were doing God service. They divulged the oath to the chief priests and elders. It was, by their silence, appropriated as the deed of the whole Sanhedrim. The blindness of their passion secured its own defeat.

II. THE DIVINE INTERPOSITION TO PROTECT . The sister of Paul probably not a Christian. The boy attached to his uncle, showing the affectionate nature of the apostle. A weak instrument chosen of God to accomplish a great work. The soldierly feeling of the captain aroused, and his sympathy with a fellow-citizen of Rome. Human agents controlled and directed by Divine influences.

III. ROMAN DESPATCH AND DISCIPLINE called, again, into the service of the gospel The promise of the Lord was being fulfilled, though in a way unanticipated by Paul. Caesarea revisited under very different circumstances. The lonely, persecuted Jew becoming important. Felix put on his mettle. The contrast between the two worlds—the world of Judaism and the world of imperialism. The prisoner going to Caesarea suggests what is wanted to deliver mankind from both—the cruelty of fanatics and the cruelty of despots and military ambition. The simplicity, heroism, all-conquering love of the Christian ambassador. "got by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." It was a significant change from Lysias's fortress at Jerusalem to Herod's palace at Caesarea. The gospel was challenging the world.—R.

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