My hope is in the resurrection of the dead
Acts 22:22 – 23:11
By Pastor Rachel
1. Paul and the Roman commander
The Roman commander demands an explanation of the riot as the crowd erupted into rage over Paul’s message that God told him to preach to the Gentiles. This Jewish mob was outraged at the thought that God’s salvation could be given freely to believing Gentiles, and they were afraid of losing their privilege and lifestyles. Pride becomes a hindrance for people to know God.
Bound for a brutal beating, Paul reveals his Roman citizenship and the reaction is immediate. Yet there is a heavenly citizenship that we can rely on even more: “but our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:10 NIV).”
2. Paul and the Sanhedrin
In his defense before the Jewish council which consisted of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, Paul declared, “I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6 NIV).” So the assembly was divided among their party lines. Our faith should be explicit. We believe in the resurrection; but it is not merely the resurrection of Jesus Christ, instead, his resurrection has become a testimony to the general resurrection of all humans—a reality beyond what we see and know. Are you believing only the parts you are comfortable with? What is your faith statement?
3. Paul and the Lord
In the darkness of the night Jesus came to Paul and comforted him, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome (Acts 23:11 NIV).” Our mission is to testify of Jesus’ name, and we will go through good and bad times. Always remember: God is with us. In his old age, Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV), “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord will award … not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”