Week 8, Day 4
February 24, 2022
Scripture: Acts 23
GUEST POST: Dan Stichter
Is this Acts or an action movie!?! While many other chapters of Acts are similar, there is so much intrigue and excitement packed into chapter 23. When you read did you notice all these Hollywood storylines?
Mistaken identities (v5)
Disagreement escalating to violence (v7-10)
Divine encounters (v11)
Assassination plots (v12)
Hunger oaths (v14)
Child spies (v16-22)
Secret military missions (v23-24)
Aggressive and uncalled for slapping! (v2)
Admittedly I may be letting my imagination run wild but I love to picture a child spy (Paul’s nephew) sneaking through the market, jumping between buildings, or hiding in a pile of straw on his way to deliver news of a hunger oath assassination plot to a Roman commander (Can we get a little character development on the Roman commander? I need to know his tragic backstory!).
Emily and I love to watch TV shows with episodes that have individual closure but a long underlying plot for the main character(s). (USA Network is great at this type of show, hit me up for some referrals) In these dramas, inevitably what the main character sees as a road block, detour, or setback actually ends up providing a new ally or leading them one step closer to their ultimate goal. As we read Acts 23 we see this exact type of plot continue to play out for Paul. As Jordan pointed out yesterday, no matter what daunting challenge Paul faces, he continues to be led to greater and greater opportunities to share the Gospel. In todays reading he even gets an all expenses paid trip to meet higher levels of Roman government and society!
Knowing his true calling, I believe Paul figured out this silver lining concept pretty quickly. Philippians 1:12-14 says “And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.” This allowed him to remain focused on his mission to spread the Gospel, especially on days that were discouraging or even scary.
While I want to be careful to avoid too many Christian cliches (I’m looking at you “everything happens for a reason”) I do think Paul’s story in Acts 23 can help us understand dynamics of Christian service and calling which can sometimes be lost in the day to day. Paul saw his ultimate mission and served with intention no matter what Hollywood movie was being filmed around him. May we all be encouraged to do our best to do the same!
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.