Acts 23:11–22 (NKJV)
11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”Acts 23:11-22
12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. 14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16 So when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.”
19 Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”
20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. 21 But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.”
22 So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.”
This story includes four very important sections or steps that make up the process of saving Paul’s life and completing his journey:
- The Process
- The Promise
- The Plot
- The Proclamation
- The Protection
THE PROMISE – In verse 11, God gives a prophetic message of promise to Paul. Just as he testified of God’s truth, plan, and purpose in Jerusalem, he would also do in Rome, the capital of the known world at that time. Paul would then shape his actions in the days ahead to facilitate that promise, and God would as well. This story is the first step in the process.
THE PLOT – The Jews, in their hatred for Paul and the Christian Church, plot to kill Paul, and even take a vow not to eat until he is dead. In verses 12-15, this band of assassins go to the chief priests and elders and gain their blessing for this action, even to the point that the Council agrees to ask for Paul to be brought back to them the next day for further discussion.
THE PROCLAMATION – It just so happened (really, do we believe that?) that Paul’s sister’s son, his nephew, heard about the plot, and told Paul. In verses 16-21, God used a young man to proclaim the news of this plot to Paul in order to preserve his life. Paul brought the nephew to the commander of the garrison, who told him all about the band of assassins plans, warning him not to bring Paul to the Council.
THE PROTECTION – The commander heard the report, told him not to reveal that he had told him about it, and began to plan how to protect Paul from this diabolical plot. Verse 22 shows that protection begin to become a reality.
What does this story say to us today? No matter what is fighting against you, God is on overwatch, and knows what is happening, how to handle it, and what He will do to protect you. God’s promise, just like He gave Paul, says that He will bring you through to the completion of His purpose and plan for your life if you will trust Him all the way. Too often, we allow fear to paralyze us in our tracks, when God is saying, “Follow me.” His ways are higher than our ways. His power is the greatest power, far beyond that of the enemy. So do not be dismayed by the enemies of your success, your spiritual journey of enlightenment and growth, your powerful ministry, or even your health. While we are being admonished and perhaps ordered by our government to take precautions due to the outbreak of coronavirus right now, know that God has you in the palm of His hands, and He will protect you. So, do not be afraid. Obey the law, be a responsible citizen, but DO NOT FEAR, for He watches over you.