2019-10-2

Acts 21:1-40; 22:1-30

Verses 1-6 

Paul and his friends spent 7 days with the Tyrian Christians.  The Holy Spirit revealed to some of these believers the dangers Paul would encounter at Jerusalem.  They interpreted this prophecy to mean that Paul should not continue on. Paul’s determination to go on to Jerusalem was not disobedience to the Holy Spirit.   In Acts 19:21, Paul, through the Spirit, had decided to go to Jerusalem and it was the fruit of the deep inward constraint of the Holy Spirit that kept him going.  Again we see the deep love the believers had for Paul as they knelt on the beach and prayed together before the group left for Caesarea. 

Verses 7-16

Philip the Evangelist, who led the Ethiopian to the Lord in Acts 8, was one of the seven chosen with Stephen as leaders in Acts 6.  The prophecy of Agabus while at Philip’s again confirmed the trouble awaiting Paul in Jerusalem and prepared him for it. The weeping and pleading of the people in Caesarea began to weaken Paul’s spiritual resolve to go on.  He begged them to stop before their love deflected him from God’s purpose. This reminds us of the Lord’s words to Peter when he tried to keep Jesus from going to Jerusalem and the Cross (Matthew 16:22-23) We must not let the fears of other Christians or loved ones hinder us from a missionary call or God’s appointed task.  They might see the suffering or sacrifice but not the blessing God will bring through this call.

Verses 17-26

Paul is now at the end of his third missionary journey.  At last he is reunited with the Jerusalem believers and greeted warmly.  They rejoiced as he reported the details of what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.  But great caution was exhibited and he joined in the purification rites as to not cause the weak Jewish Christians to stumble

Verses 27-40

Just before the seven days of the purification rite were over, some Jews from Asia stirred up the whole crowd against Paul.  The city was in an uproar and Paul was seized and beaten with the intent to kill him. The commander of the Roman troops intervened by arresting Paul and having him bound in chains.  The mob was so violent that the soldiers had to carry him. Paul spoke to the commander and was allowed to address the crowd in Chapter 22.

What is the secret of Paul’s serenity?  It would have been easy to say “If only I had not come…” or “This is so unfair…”  Or he could have just stayed in Tyre or Caesarea. But Paul KNEW that he was in Jerusalem by the will of God.  God had allowed this to happen. Paul went directly to God. He knew God had purpose in the trial. His first thought was, “How can I use the difficulty, this opportunity to serve God?” ( Acts 21:39)

God has purpose in our trials too.  I need to see struggles as Paul did – as opportunities to trust and serve God.  His Word changes us, gives us hope and truth so that we can learn to see our struggles through the Light of the Savior, not the darkness of the world.       —- Mary Mauderer

使徒行傳22:1-30

保羅在完成第三次海外宣教之旅,從哥林多回到耶路撒冷與教會的長老、眾使徒相聚團契,雖然先知亞迦布預告保羅有捆鎖之難。但保羅受聖靈充滿,有主耶穌基督與他同在,信心堅定,大有勇敢,不懼危難,甘願為主受苦。事實上他在亞細亞/土耳其遭遇過多次攻擊,甚至被石頭打到半死,但他仍然堅持要為主傳明真道──耶穌是基督/彌賽亞。

果然,有從亞細亞(土耳其)來的猶太人,聳動耶路撒冷的猶太人,以保羅在海外傳基督救恩福音,帶領外邦人皈信基督卻不必受割禮,嚴重的違反猶太人的規矩為由,正要殺害保羅。
羅馬駐軍的千夫長來到現場平亂,羅馬軍兵救了保羅不被殺害,但要查明事故緣由,保羅要求說明真相──

保羅用希伯來話向猶太人說,我跟你們是一樣的,原本也是逼迫基督徒的!首先就爭取了猶太人的認同──
「我原是猶太人,生在基利家的大數,長在這城裏,在迦瑪列門下,按著我們祖宗嚴緊的律法受教,熱心事奉神,像你們眾人今日一樣。我也曾逼迫奉這道的人,直到死地,無論男女都鎖拿下監。」甚至──
當耶穌基督的見證人司提反被害流血的時候,保羅也站在旁邊歡喜,又看守害死他之人的衣裳。(徒7:58)
保羅毫無膽怯的,繼續說明耶穌是基督,並且親自向他顯現,揀選他作向外邦人傳福音的使徒。

這下卻是激怒了猶太人,原是逼迫基督徒的猶太人,現在卻是傳耶穌是基督的猶太人,還要指出猶太人對耶和華獨一真神認識的錯誤,猶太人豈能容他存活。群起喧嚷:「這樣的人,從世上除掉他吧!他是不當活著的。」

然而,當羅馬軍兵綑綁保羅,鞭打保羅,要查明真相的時候,保羅對羅馬百夫長說:「人是羅馬人,又沒有定罪,你們就鞭打他,有這個例麼?」
百夫長告訴千夫長,千夫長說:「我用許多銀子纔入了羅馬的民籍。」
保羅說:「我生來就是。」
千夫長既知道他是羅馬人,又因為捆綁了他,也害怕了。
於是那些要拷問保羅的人就離開他去了。

主耶穌基督的作為真是何等奇妙,祂揀選保羅,一個生來就是猶太裔的羅馬公民,一個在耶路撒冷法利賽人中最嚴格的迦瑪列門下受教的法利賽人,一個曾經是逼迫基督徒的人,卻又是親身經歷主耶穌基督顯現與神蹟的人。
既是對舊約律法嫻熟,又確知耶穌是神的獨生兒子,為拯救世人而在十字架完成救贖,從死裡復活的真理;
既是曾經得羅馬駐軍授權迫害基督徒,又是具有羅馬公民身份得羅馬駐軍的保護,何等奇妙。

感謝主,這是主耶穌基督的奇妙作為,也是使徒保羅不畏險阻,甘願為主殉道的堅固信心。
主耶穌基督真道就是磐石,絕對穩固;我們的信心建立在真道的磐石上,也當像磐石般的穩固堅定。
雖在世上遭遇險阻,卻不必害怕,有主與我們同在,祂必為我們開路,也必保守我們十分平安。     —- Solomon Liu

 

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