Saturday, 10 July 2021
“But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, ‘Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” - Acts 23:11
Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not an option but a commandment. But unfortunately today’s Christians, purposely or conveniently forget this fact during their earthly life. But God has His own ways to do His work. In order to carry out His mission, God chooses many people from time to time.
In today’s reading we can see the chosen vessel of God – Apostle Paul. Acts 23:11 says “But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said. “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” From this we can see that:
Lord stood with Paul at his side: Paul would have thought that he was alone in the jail. But Jesus knew where Paul was and had not lost sight of Paul because he was in jail. The physical presence of Jesus Christ with Paul in jail not only strengthened Paul, but was the manifestation of His promise “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) and “I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Asked him to take courage: Though Paul knew this situation was bad, he didn’t know about the plot to kill him. The next day, forty Jewish assassins would gather together and vow to go on a hunger strike until they murdered Paul. Paul didn’t know this would happen, but Jesus did. The presence of Christ with him in jail not only strengthened him, but comforted and cheered him.
Asked him to witness at Rome: Jesus knew and acknowledges what Paul had done in Jerusalem and told Paul there remained more work for him to do in Rome – his next assignment.
It is clear from the above that when God chooses a person He will:
Stand with him: Isaiah 41:10 says “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ”
Speak to & Guide him: There are many instances in the Bible where God spoke to His people, especially those he chose to do special tasks. In Acts 9:3-6, we see Jesus spoke to Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. When his life was in danger in Jerusalem, the Lord spoke to him to leave flee the city (Acts 22: 17). In Acts 18:9 Paul received a revelation from the Lord to stay in the city of Corinth and minister. In Acts 23:11 in Jerusalem Paul was encouraged by the Lord that he would testify in Rome. In the same way He speaks to us also (either through His Word or His ministers), encouraging us or guiding us to do His will. Then the Lord said to him “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9 :6)
Strengthen him: “But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.” (2 Timothy 4 :17 NLT)
From today’s reading, we see God’s divine protection and direction to His faithful servant, Paul. Whatever be the situations His children face, Jesus’ presence is always with us- He will be our constant companion and guide.
Dear Lord Jesus, I need your constant presence with me to lead a victorious Christian life. Amen