Unstoppable! 'Stacking the Deck Against Paul' — Acts 24:1-2

Friday, November 11, 2022

ToGather: Freed to Serve

Jesus paid the price to free us from sin, death, and hell so we could serve others in love.

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Five days [after the Roman troops took Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea,] Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish elders and the lawyer Tertullus, to present their case against Paul to the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor: ...

— Acts 24:1-2 NLT

Key Thought

Through the commander's quick work, Paul had been rescued from a murder plot and taken securely to Caesarea and Governor Felix.* The Jewish leaders were determined to get rid of Paul, so they sent a high-powered contingent to Caesarea to accuse Paul in the legal proceedings Felix had ordered. At first glance, Paul was greatly outmatched and by himself. The Jewish high priest, older men of position (elders), and a lawyer were present to accuse Paul. Despite appearances, Paul was not alone! Jesus had promised to be with any of his disciples when they were brought before rulers and authorities.** He assured them that they would be given the words to say through the presence of the Holy Spirit within them. Paul's abilities to handle the charges and the legal proceedings that we will see unfold the next few days are reminders of Jesus' promise that is also a promise to us!

* See the first set of Related Scripture Readings.
** See the second set of Related Scripture Readings.

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, my tender and loving Abba Father, I confess that I sometimes feel we are so outnumbered as your children today. The media repeatedly force-feed us images, stories, films, TV shows that make good seem evil and evil seem good. I wonder how we will have the power to influence our children and grandchildren to follow your values while treating people and authorities with respect. I am thankful for the example of Paul, who faced much more difficult challenges. Your presence, support, and gift to him of words to say remind me that I am not alone and that the presence of the Holy Spirit in me is more powerful than the lies of the world.^ Thank you for your reassurance, presence, and power that you have given me in the Spirit. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

^ 1 John 4:4.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 23:12-24
  • Luke 12:11-12; Mark 13:9-11; Acts 6:8-15

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 24:1-2 NLT — Five days [after the Roman troops took Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea,] Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish elders and the lawyer Tertullus, to present their case against Paul to the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor: ...

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.