Comfort In Times of Trial

While assembling their new water bed, my sister Betty and her husband, Everett, realized they would need a hose. Everett dashed to the hardware store and bought one. They attached it to the bed, ran it through the apartment to the kitchen tap and left to wait for the bed to fill. … More

Trials

Paul had been assaulted by the mob, threatened with scourging by the Romans, and bullied by the high priest. It was evident to him there was no chance that he would receive a fair trial in a court headed by such a man as Ananias. If he said, “I am a Christian,” and made his defense along that line, he could expect to be shouted down. It seems that in desperation he acted politically, rather than spiritually, which later he may have regretted (24:21). He knew that the council was made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees. Since the Sadducees denied the resurrection and the Pharisees believed in it, he identified himself as a Pharisee, and immediately the two parties began to squabble (v. 6).

There is no strife so bitter as party politics fueled by religious animosity.Paul had stated that his position on the Resurrection was in agreement with the Pharisees, but not the Sadducees (vv. 7-8). This clever tactic divided the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees took Paul’s part and demanded his acquittal (v. 9). In a moment the two parties were at each other’s  throats, and Paul could stand back and see the result of his words.

We see Paul was in more danger in the midst of the Jews than he was in a Roman prison, and the captain had to rescue Paul by force or he would have been killed (v. 10). It would be very natural for Paul to become depressed, fearful, and discouraged by all this. Perhaps he was wondering what good had been done by his coming to Jerusalem. The next night the Lord Himself drew near to Paul to comfort and encourage him, and also to assure him that he would go to Rome (v. 11). Whoever is against us, we need not fear, if the Lord stand by us. It is the will of Christ, that his servants who are faithful, should be always cheerful.

Application

I have had some trials and discouragement in this life but nothing compared to what Paul went through. Lord, help me to always have a good attitude when trials come my way.

Acts 23:6-11 (English Standard Version)

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial." And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees' party stood up and contended sharply, "We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?" And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »