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Our readings in Acts today open up with a very encouraging word to Paul from Jesus in verse 11 - "That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, "Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have told the people about me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome."" That is awesome that this occurred in the midst of all of Paul's trials and imprisonment. Jesus was there with him. How about in our lives today - think Jesus is always with us? Is there any circumstance you can find yourself in that Jesus won't be there? Is there anywhere on this earth you can go where Jesus won't be there?
An interesting note on verses 12 & 13 in today's readings - "The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath to neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty of them." It is believed by some scholars that these 40 men may have been part of the Zealots - the group that later led the revolt against Rome in A.D. 66-70.
Paul is taken to Governor Felix at the end of today's readings in Acts. Felix is in the same position that Pontius Pilate was. I find it kind of interesting that both Jesus and Paul were brought before the same-positioned Roman ruler. It reminds me of Jesus' words in John 15 verse 20 to his disciples - "Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." If Jesus was brought before a Roman governor, it's no surprise that Paul was too. I think you and I should remember Jesus' words in the Gospel of John as well. I know oftentimes we don't seem persecuted at all - maybe most of the time really. But, I think we need to remember, it can happen. If we are truly living our faith and truly following Jesus, persecution will come in some form or another. No servant is greater than his master... Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? Are you willing to be persecuted for your faith?
Worship Video: Today’s readings remind me of the terrific CeCe Winans song, “Believe For It:”.
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