“When Paul realized that one part of them were Sadducees and the other part Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee, son of Pharisees! I am being judged 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. For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and no angel and spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all. The shouting grew loud, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party got up and argued vehemently: ‘We find nothing evil in this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?’” Acts 23:6-9 (HCSB)
It’s easy to think the apostles were always laid back and relaxed amid opposition. In reality, the scene was often totally terrifying. “Real-time” seldom gives an account of the future, so Paul had no idea what would happen next. What he DID have was Jesus’ promise of two things: 1) Persecution and 2) The presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus had said to his disciples: “Because people will hand you over to Sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them. You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations. But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of Your Father is speaking through you.” Matt 10:17-20 (HCSB)
Just because Paul was not standing by when Jesus spoke those words is no indicator that He did not communicate that message of strength and grace through other means. Jesus could have easily relayed that information through 1) Testimony from people who heard it firsthand, 2) Revelation from the Spirit by dreams and visions, and 3) Direct personal revelation, as He did with Paul on the road to Damascus.
No doubt, Paul was a brilliant intellectual. Still, if you asked him, I’m sure Paul would give the credit to God for getting him through this otherwise terrifying situation.
How can we become like Paul? Right now, you’re on the right track. You are seeking God’s Word. You are depositing Scriptural knowledge into your mental “bank account.” Then, as life continues, the Spirit guides you by drawing from that Scriptural knowledge. The Spirit literally transfers God’s Word from your mental “account” into your Heart…giving it practical context, matched with the motivation to act out and seize ministry opportunities…then to your mouth so you can bear witness.
It’s kind of like your ATM card: No money in the bank, no withdrawal...lots of money in the bank, no purchase is impossible. Keep “depositing” God’s Word into your spiritual account! God wants you to make a few “withdrawals” and see a few more folks enter into a saving relationship with Him through your testimony!
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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