Saturday, August 16, 2008

44 The Book of Acts (Summarized)

Jesus' post-resurrection appearances, Jesus' ascent to Heaven, Matthias replaced Judas 1
Apostles receive the Holy Spirit, Peter explained some prophesies and made 3000 converts, wealth was shared 2
Peter healed a lame man, and explained prophesies and Jesus' mission to the Jews 3
Peter and John were arrested, threatened, and released, others receive the Holy Spirit, wealth was shared 4
Ananias and Sapphira were killed by God, Apostles were arrested and harrassed by the Jewish elite 5
Church labor divisions made, Stephen was arrested, gave historical testamony, and then got stoned 6
Church persecution, Simon the sorcerer, conversion of a eunich 8
Saul/Paul's vision of Jesus, and his conversion, Peter's miracles 9
Peter's vision of the unclean becoming clean, saving of the Gentile centurion's household 10
The spreading of the Church, including to the Gentiles 11
James killed, Peter arrested and miraculously freed, Herod killed by God 12
Paul spreads the Gospel, blinds Elymas the sorcerer, teaches in Antioch 13
Paul and Barnabus witness in Iconium, Lystra, and Debre, Paul gets stoned 14
The debate on Gentile circumcision and obeying God's Law 15
Paul and Silas witness, exocise a demon, and get arrested in Macedonia 16
Paul witnesses in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens 17
Paul witnesses in Corinth and elsewhere, Apollos preached about Jesus without knowing Him 18
Paul gives the Holy Spirit in Ephesus, exorcisms go bad for non-Christians, Ephesian idol-merchant gets angry 19
Paul resurrects a young man in Troas, says goodbye to the Ephesus region 20
Paul arrested in Jerusalem in the Temple, a retelling of Paul's vision of Jesus 21-22
Paul before the Sandhedrin, the plot to kill Paul, and the trial before the Governor 23-24
Paul's odyssey of witnessing on the way to Rome while under arrest 25-28

  1. BG | SAB | In the previous book (Luke), the author described what Jesus had said and done, giving instructions to the Apostles (Disciples) through the Holy Spirit until He was taken to Heaven. After His suffering, He appeared over the course of 40 days to the Apostles, and proved that He was alive. Once in that time of reappearance, Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until they became baptized by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them that they are not permitted to know when God's Kingdom will come, but they will be Jesus' witnesses, first in Jerusalem, and then to all of the world. Then Jesus went up into the sky, and two angels explained that He had gone to Heaven. The Apostles then went back to Jerusalem and prayed with the other approximately 120 believers, with Peter at the head. Peter explained that the prophesy given by the Holy Spirit through David about Judas, the betrayer, had to be fulfilled. (Judas had bought a field with Jesus' ransom, and in that field Judas fell and died, with his guts bursting out.) Peter said another prophesy had to be fulfilled; to replace Judas. There were two men who had also been with Jesus since John the Baptist's baptism until the Jesus' ascent to Heaven. By lot, Matthias was chosen to take Judas' place as an Apostle.

  2. BG | SAB | At Pentecost, wind came from Heaven, and the Holy Spirit rested on each of the Apostles. They could then speak in tongues. Jews from many nations, attracted by the noise gathered around the house where the Apostles were, and were amazed when they heard their own languages being spoken. Others scoffed, and claimed the Apostles were drunk on wine. Peter explained to the crowd that it was too early to be drunk, but rather that this was the fulfillment of a prophesy from Joel regarding God giving His Spirit to all people and how those who call on God will be Saved. Peter then explained how it had been God's plan for Jesus to die and then be resurrected, just as David had prophesied. Peter went on to say that Jesus has given the ability to speak in tongues through the Holy Spirit, that God had now made the crucified Jesus both Lord and Messiah. The crowd felt guilty. Peter told them to repent and be baptized, and then would receive the Holy Spirit. About 3000 people joined the believers that day. The Apostles performed many signs and wonders. Believers obeyed the Apostles, and ate bread and prayed together. They sold what they had, and all of their possessions were shared in common. God made more people became believers daily.

  3. BG | SAB | Once, while Peter and John were going to the Temple to pray, Peter healed a lame man in Jesus' name. People were amazed that the man could walk. Peter then explained to the gathering crowd that, although they had killed Jesus, God had glorified Him, and through Him the man was healed. Peter said that they had acted in ignorance, and those actions fulfilled prophesy, but now they should repent to be cleansed of their sins so that they will not be cut off like Moses had prophesied, and that Jesus must wait in Heaven until the right time comes, as per prophesy. Samuel, and all prophets after him, prophesied of these days. Through the Jews, everyone would be blessed. God sent Jesus to the Jews first to get them to repent.

  4. BG | SAB | The Priests, guards, and Sadducees arrested Peter and John. There were about 5000 believers at that time. Annas (the High Priest), Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and others questioned Peter and John the next day. Peter explained to them that it was through Jesus that the lame man was now healed, and that, while Jesus had been rejected to fulfill prophesy, only through Him is there any hope of Salvation. The religious elite were amazed by Peter's boldness, and let Peter and John go. The elite discussed what should be done, and decided to tell them not to teach anymore, so they called Peter and John back and forbid them to teach about Jesus. Peter said that they would speak about what they had seen. So the elite threatened them again, and then let them go. Peter and John returned to the other believers. They all prayed to God, citing the fulfillment of another of David's prophesies regarding the conspiracy behind Jesus' crucifixion, which all went according to God's plan, and asked for the ability to perform healings and signs. Then the room shook, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The believers were unified, and shared all that they owned with each other. There were no poor among them. Landowners, such as a Levite named Joseph, sold their land and gave the money to the Apostles, and the money was redistributed.

  5. BG | SAB | A believing couple named Ananias and Sapphira, sold their land, but kept some of the money for themselves as opposed to giving it all to the Apostles. Peter asked Ananias how Satan had convinced Ananias to lie to God and the Holy Spirit, and immediately Ananias died. Sapphira was questioned, and she also lied, and immediately died after Peter accused her. The Church was afraid. The Apostles continued to perform signs and wonders, such as healings, and more people believed. The Religious elite arrested the Apostles, but an angel freed them from jail in the middle of the night. The next day, the Apostles taught in the courtyard, while the religious elite wondered how they had gotten out of cells which were still locked and guarded. The elite had the Apostles arrested again. The Apostles told them that they must obey God, not man, and that the Apostles witness that Jesus was resurrected, and is the Savior who forgives sins of the repentant people. The Apostles also said that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. The religious elite were furious, but a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, persuaded the elite to let the Apostles go, because time would show if the Apostles' efforts were supported by God. So the elite let the Apostles go, again warning them not to speak of Jesus. The Apostles rejoiced that they themselves had suffered disgrace. They kept on teaching about Jesus in the Temple courts.

  6. BG | SAB | A dispute arose about the widows being overlooked in daily food distributions, so the Apostles appointed people to take care of that task so that the Apostles could focus on spreading the Gospel. The believers rapidly grew in numbers, even including some priests. Some men argued with Stephen, but they could not stand up against the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gave to him. Still, the men had Stephen arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, where they produced false witnesses against him, while Stephen looked like an angel.

  7. BG | SAB | Stephen replied with a history of the Jewish people, going back to God's promise to Abraham for the promised land and offspring, then to Isaac, then to the Twelve Patriarchs, to Joseph's efforts through the severe famine, to the Pharaoh's oppression and Moses' leadership in the Exodus, and to the Golden Calf Idol. Stephen explained that God had let them worship the sun, moon, and stars, thereby fulfilling prophesy. Stephen continued with the history, mentioning the Tabernacle and the Law, Joshua's leadership in the Promised Land, and Solomon's construction of the Temple. Stephen then reminded them that God's throne is in Heaven, not on Earth, and then rebuked them for being stiff-necked like their forefathers, who persecuted the prophets who had predicted Jesus' coming. The Sanhedrin was furious. Steven looked up and announced that he saw Jesus and God in Heaven. The Sanhedrin stoned Stephen, and Stephen asked Jesus not to hold this sin against them before he died. Some witnesses gave their coats to Saul.

  8. BG | SAB | That day the Church was persecuted, scattering the believers. Saul hunted down and arrested Church members. Scattered believers preached the Gospel. Philip preached in a city in Samaria, and exorcised spirits and healed people. A sorcerer, named Simon, had a good reputation in that same city as being powerful, but he was amazed by and believed Philip. Peter and John soon joined Philip, and they prayed and laid hands on the new believers so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. Simon offered to buy the ability to give the Holy Spirit, but Peter rebuked Simon's sinfulness and told him to repent. Simon asked them to pray for him. Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. An angel told Philip to go south to Gaza. Along the way, he met an important Ethiopian eunuch who was reading Isaiah 53. Philip explained to him that it was a prophesy about Jesus. Philip baptized the eunuch, and then, in an instant, God transported Philip to Azotus, where he preached the Gospel on his way to Caesarea.

  9. BG | SAB | Meanwhile, Saul was diligently persecuting Church members, and decided to head to Damascus to do so. On his way, a light from Heaven flashed on him. Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting Him, and told him that he would be told what to do in Damascus. Saul was blind after that encounter, so the men with him led him to Damascus. Jesus told Ananias to seek Saul out, and lay hands on him to restore his sight. Ananias protested the mission, because he knew Saul's reputation, but Jesus explained that Saul was part of His plan. So Ananias went and healed Saul. Soon, Saul was preaching the Gospel, baffling people with his sudden change and his proof that Jesus was the Messiah. Some Jews conspired to kill Saul, but some believers smuggled him out of the city. Saul went to Jerusalem, where Barnabas had to convince the other Apostles to accept him. Saul openly preached and debated, which soon put his life at risk, so he was sent to Tarsus. For a little while, there was peace for the Church in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and its numbers grew. Peter had Jesus heal a man in Lydda, and then resurrected a devoted female disciple in Joppa.

  10. BG | SAB | A God-fearing, devout, and generous centurion in Caesarea had an angel tell him to send for Peter in Joppa, so he sent men to go get him. Peter had a series of three visions in which a voice told him that there were no longer any dietary restrictions, because God had now made all animals clean, but Peter was confused. The Holy Spirit told Peter about the men coming from the centurion, so Peter met the men, and headed back with them to Caesarea. Upon arriving, Peter explained that, contrary to God's Law restricting Jew-Gentile relations, God told him not to call anyone unclean. The centurion explained how an angel had told him to summon Peter. Peter realized that God only showed favoritism for those who fear God and who do right. Then Peter explained his witnessing of the Gospel of Jesus, including how the resurrected Jesus had only appeared to those chosen by God, and how all of the prophets had spoken of sin forgiveness in Jesus' name. While Peter was talking, the Holy Spirit came to those who were listening. (They were Gentiles.) Then Peter baptized them with water.

  11. BG | SAB | The other Apostles and circumcised believers were amazed by what had happened to Gentiles through Peter's actions. Peter explained to them all that had happened. They praised God for extending repentant Salvation to the Gentiles. The believers who were scattered following Stephen's stoning had spread the Gospel primarily to Jewish diaspora, but some had reached out to Gentiles in Cyprus and Cyrene. The number of believers grew. Barnabas went to Antioch (where the term "Christian" was first used) and converted many people. Then he went to Tarsus, joining with Saul for a year. Agabus predicted a famine which spread over the Roman world under the reign of Claudius. People sent money back to the central church in Judea with Barnabas and Saul.

  12. BG | SAB | King Herod arrested some church members, and had James killed. He then arrested Peter, intending to try him after Passover. Meanwhile, the church prayed for Peter. In the night, an angel appeared, and let Peter out of prison. Peter marveled at Jesus' power to free him, and then went to Mary's house. There, he explained what had happened, and then he left. Herod killed the guards who had been responsible for watching Peter. Herod went to Caesarea. Tyre and Sidon sought a peace treaty with him. On the day when Herod announced the treaty, he was killed by God and was eaten by worms for not honoring God. Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, taking John/Mark with them.

  13. BG | SAB | In Antioch, the Holy Spirit selected Barnabas and Saul for a special mission. John/Mark went with them. They preached the Gospel on the island of Cyprus. In Paphos, they found a sorcerer (Elymas) and a false prophet (Bar-Jesus). The proconsul summoned Barnabas and Saul/Paul, but Elymas opposed them. Saul/Paul pronounced Elymas as being a child of Satan, and cursed him with blindness. The proconsul was impressed, and believed Saul/Paul's testimony. Saul/Paul and his companions went to Perga. John/Mark left them there to go to Jerusalem. In a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, Paul briefly recounted how God had helped the Jews prosper in Egypt, and then led them to the Promised Land, how they had judges and then kings, and how Jesus came from king David's descendents. Paul mentioned that John the Baptist had spoken about Jesus. Paul explained how the Jewish leaders had Jesus executed, without proper grounds, just as the old prophesies had said would happen. Paul said that Jesus was resurrected by God, which was witnessed by the Disciples, which was according to the prophesies as well. Paul exhorted the people to believe so that they would be forgiven of their sins, or else they would perish. The people asked Paul to speak about this more on the next Sabbath. The whole city showed up to hear Paul then, but some Jews contradicted what Paul was saying. Paul told them that their rejection was why the message of Salvation was now being brought to the Gentiles. That made the Gentiles happy. However, the Jewish leaders were able to expel Paul and Barnabas from the region. So, Paul and Barnabas, shaking the sand from their sandals, went to Iconium.

  14. BG | SAB |At Iconium, Paul and Barnabas, with the help of some miracles, persuaded many Jews and Gentiles to believe. However, those Jews who refused to believe arranged to have Paul and Barnabas stoned, but Paul and Barnabas heard about their plot and so they fled to the region of Lystra and Derbe. In Lystra, Paul healed a lame man. This caused the people to call Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes", considering them to be gods. Paul objected to this, stating that they were worshiping false gods, and that God had provided evidence of His love through the rains and crops. However, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium won over the crowd, and had Paul stoned. Paul survived the stoning. Paul and Barnabas went to Derbe, where they won many converts. Then they went back to Lystra, Antioch, and Iconium to strengthen the new disciples there, explaining how they must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. With prayer and fasting, Paul and Barnabas selected elders to run their churches. Then Paul and Barnabas continued to travel through many towns preaching the Word. Eventually they returned to Antioch and reported how God had opened the door for the Gentiles.

  15. BG | SAB | Some believers came from Judea to Antioch, and began to insist that the Gentiles be circumcised. This caused a great argument, which prompted Paul and Barnabas to travel to Jerusalem to settle the matter with the Apostles. Simon/Peter explained how God had given the Holy Spirit to Gentiles, even without their being circumcised, so they should not be forced to be circumcised or to follow God's Law. Paul and Barnabas explained what they had seen among the Gentiles. James explained how Simon/Peter's words agree with prophesy, and then proclaimed that the Gentiles should only abstain from food associated with idolatry, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood, as opposed to fully obeying God's Law. They all agreed, and so they wrote a letter to the churches in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia to explain the restrictions that the Gentiles should obey. Paul and Barnabas went back to Antioch. After a while, Paul and Barnabas decided to revisit the towns they had been to previously. However, they had a dispute about taking John/Mark with them, so Paul went with Silas to Syria and Cilicia, while Barnabas and John/Mark went to Cyprus.

  16. BG | SAB | In Lystra, Paul met Timothy, the son of a Jewish/Greek mixed marriage. Paul circumcised him, and took him along on the journey. The churches were strengthened by Paul's visits. Paul preached throughout Phrygia and Galatia, staying away from Asia because of the Holy Spirit. Paul was prevented from entering Bithynia by the Spirit of Jesus. One night, Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man begging for help, so the next morning Paul decided to head there. In Philippi in the district of Macedonia, a woman named Lydia, and her family, were converted, and invited Paul and his group to stay with them. A spirit-possessed slave girl made a lot of money telling the future. She also followed Paul around proclaiming that he was a servant of God and was telling people how to be Saved. Paul became annoyed by this, and so he exorcised the spirit from her. The slave girl's owners were not happy, because they lost their income, so they had Paul and Silas arrested under the pretense of their advocating to break Roman laws. Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten, and shackled in jail. Paul and Silas prayed and sung hymns. Around midnight, there was an earthquake, and the prison doors opened and all of the prisoners' chains became loose. The prison guard awoke, and thought the prisoners had escaped, so he was about to kill himself. Paul shouted, letting him know that the prisoners were still there. The guard asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be Saved. They told him that he needed to believe in Jesus, and they then shared the Gospel with and baptized him and his family, and they were Saved. In the morning, the magistrates sent orders to release Paul and Silas, but they refused to go quietly, because they had been beaten and imprisoned without trial, until the magistrates personally let them go. So the magistrates appeased their request and then asked them to leave town. They went to Lydia's house and then left.

  17. BG | SAB | In Thessalonica, Paul preached in a synagogue there, explaining how Jesus fulfilled prophesy by suffering and rising from the dead. He made many converts, including some Greeks, but some other Jews gathered a mob and incited them against Paul. Not finding Paul or Silas, Jason, one of the believers, also got harassed. Paul and Silas went to Berea at nightfall. There, many Jews and Greeks believed Paul's message because it was backed up by Scripture. However, people from Thessalonica arrived there and began causing trouble. Paul went to Athens. Paul found rampant idolatry in Athens, but the people there were culturally curious about new ideas, so they asked Paul to speak to the Areopagus. So Paul explained that they were ignorant of the one true God who made everything and does not need anything, who designed history and nations. He explained that God forgave idolatry in the past, but now wants everyone to repent, because Jesus, who was resurrected as proof, will judge everyone. Dionysius, Damaris, and some others became believers.

  18. BG | SAB | Paul went to Corinth, where he tried to make converts of the Jews and Greeks. He was helped by Aguila and Priscilla, who had left Rome when Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome. Most Jews refused Paul's teaching, so he gave up on them and instead taught the Gentiles. Paul won many converts there who believed and were baptized, including Titius Justus and Crispus. In a vision, Jesus promised protection and encouraged Paul to continue his work there, so Paul stayed in Corinth a year and a half. Many Jews there united against Paul to get him arrested for changing the way to worship God, but the proconsul refused to hear the case because it was a religious matter, and so the people turned on the leader of the united Jews and beat him in front of everyone. Paul cut his hair off to fulfill a vow, and then left for Syria by boat with Aquila and Priscilla. At Ephesus, Paul converted some Jews, and promised to come back there if God wanted him to do so. Aquila and Priscilla stayed there, but Paul then went on to Caesarea, Jerusalem, and Antioch. Meanwhile back at Ephesus, a Jew named Apollos preached about Jesus from his knowledge of the Scriptures despite not knowing Jesus. Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos more adequately about Jesus. Apollos went to Achaia, and publicly proved that Jesus was the Messiah from the Scriptures.

  19. BG | SAB | In Ephesus, Paul asked a group of about a dozen believers if they had received the Holy Spirit, but they did not know what he was talking about. They had only received John's baptism. So Paul baptized them by laying his hands on them. They received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues and prophesied. Paul taught there for three months, but some of the Jews obstinately rejected his teaching, so Paul left. Paul taught in the lecture hall of Tyrannus for two years, so that everyone in Asia had heard about Jesus. Paul was full of miraculous power, such that things he had touched could cure people and cast out demons. Some Jews tried to cast out demons in Jesus name with mixed results. One time a demon rejected the order, and instead caused the possess man to beat up and humiliate the seven Jews who were trying to perform the exorcism. This story became well known, causing reverence for Jesus' name. Many believers made confessions of their sins, and many of them got together and burned their old sorcery scrolls. Paul decided to go to Jerusalem via Macedonia and Achaia before returning to Rome. He sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia. A silversmith and idol maker named Demetrius was furious with the loss of revenue that Paul had caused with his teaching, and he incited the people of Ephesus into a frenzy against Paul's teaching, but the city clerk calmed down the crowd, explaining how Artemis' divinity was undeniable, that Paul's disciples had not blasphemed or robbed their temples, and that they need to settle any grievances legally in the courts.

  20. BG | SAB | Paul left for Macedonia. He went to Greece, staying for three months. Jews plotted against Paul there, so he went back through Macedonia. In Troas, Paul met with some disciples. Paul gave a long lecture there, such that a young man fell asleep and fell out of a window and died. Paul went down, laid on the man, and thereby brought him back to life. Paul continued his lecture until the morning, and then left for Assos. There, he met other disciples, and they sailed on to Miletus. While there, Paul met with elders from Ephesus. Paul explained to them that he had diligently and persistently taught for three years in that region, such that he now considered himself innocent of their blood, and so it was now their duty to shepherd the flock of believers and protect them from those who distort the truth. The time Paul was there, he worked and earned his keep, demonstrating through his actions that they must help the weak, and how Jesus had said it is "more blessed to give than receive." Paul knelt and prayed with them all, tearfully said goodbye, and then left.

  21. BG | SAB | They started their journey; stopping in Kos, Rhodes, Patara, Phoenicia, Syria, and Tyre. In Tyre, the Holy Spirit urged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. They sailed to Ptolemais, and then Caesarea, where they stayed with Philip, "one of the Seven." A prophet named Agabus foretold that the Jewish leaders would hand Paul over to the Gentiles. Paul proclaimed that he was ready to be bound and even die in Jesus name. So they continued on to Jerusalem. There, Paul met with James and elders, and recounted the successful ministry among the Gentiles. The elders praised God, and explained how rumors had spread that Paul was telling the Jewish diaspora to disregard the Law, so the elders suggested that he take part in a purification ceremony to disprove those rumors. The elders had written to the faithful Gentiles explaining that they should not eat food given to idols, blood, or meat from strangled animals, and that they should not be sexually immoral. The next day Paul took part in the purification rituals. Less than a week later, some Jews saw Paul in the Temple, and rose up against him, claiming that he had taught against Jewish traditions and had defiled the Temple. The mob was about to kill him when Roman soldiers appeared, arrested him, and began to take him to the barracks. Paul asked to speak, but the commander accused him of being an Egyptian who led 4000 terrorists into the wilderness. Paul replied that he was a Jew from Tarsus, and asked to speak to the people. The commander let him speak.

  22. BG | SAB | Paul explained to the crowd: He had been a very zealous Jew and had persecuted Christians, even to their deaths. However, Jesus appeared to him near Damascus and instructed him to go to see Ananias there. Paul had been blinded by the vision of Jesus, but, upon meeting with Ananias, he received his sight again. Ananias told Paul that he was a chosen witness, and that he should go get baptized to wash away his sins in Jesus' name. Then, Jesus appeared again and told him to leave Jerusalem immediately. Paul said to Jesus that the Jews knew how he had persecuted Christians. So Jesus told him to go away to the Gentiles. At this, the crowd listening to Paul became outraged, so the commander had Paul taken to the barracks to be flogged and interrogated. When the soldiers were about to flog him, he challenged the legality of flogging a Roman citizen without finding him guilty. Upon realizing that Paul was a citizen, they released him, but brought him before the Sanhedrin the next day to know the nature of the charges against him.

  23. BG | SAB | Paul said that he had done his duty to God, which provoked Ananias to command that his mouth be struck. Paul said that God would strike him for such a command, but then repented when he learned Ananias was the High Priest. Paul claimed to be on trial for the hope of resurrection, which then caused an argument between the Sadducees (who did not believe in resurrection) and the Pharisees. The Pharisees supported Paul, but the Sadducees became violent, so the soldiers took Paul away for his protection. Jesus encouraged Paul that night, and told him that he would likewise testify in Rome. The next morning, more than forty Jews made an oath to kill Paul, but their conspiracy was discovered, and the commander of the soldiers was informed of it. So the commander had Paul taken to Governor Felix safely with armed guards, and he told Paul's accusers to take their case to the Governor.

  24. BG | SAB | Five days later, Ananias, via his lawyer Tertullus, presented the charges against Paul to the Governor; that Paul was a leader of the Nazarene sect, who was causing riots and had tried to desecrate the Temple. Paul defended himself, saying that he went to Jerusalem twelve days ago, that his accusers can not prove that he was stirring up trouble, that he was a "follower of the Way", and that he believed in the coming resurrection according to the Law and the Prophets. He continued on to say that he had gone to Jerusalem to bring gifts for the poor and offerings, that he caused no disturbance while there, and that there was nothing he could be charged with other than speaking about the resurrection. The Governor, who knew about the Way, said that he would decide Paul's case when the commander got there. Paul was put in prison. The Governor asked for Paul to speak about his faith, so Paul spoke of righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgement. Two years later, the Governor was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but Paul was kept in prison.

  25. BG | SAB | Festus went to Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders demanded that Paul be brought there for a trial, but Festus instead said that charges could be brought against Paul in Caesarea. At the trial, Paul proclaimed his innocence to both Jewish and Roman authorities, and appealed to Caesar not to be released to the Jews. Festus agreed to the appeal. King Agrippa was visiting Festus, and, after hearing about Paul from Festus, asked to hear Paul's case. So Festus arranged a hearing for Agrippa, and implored him to make some discernment of the charges to be brought against Paul prior to sending him to Caesar.

  26. Paul explained to KBG | SAB | ing Agrippa that he had been one of the most strict types of Jews; a Pharisee. He told Agrippa that the Jews now held charges against him for believing in the hope of God's promise. He said that he, too, had once zealously opposed Jesus' followers, and had engaged in their persecution. However, a vision of Jesus had appeared to him, and told him that he would be a light to the Gentiles, saving them from Satan's power, and leading them to forgiveness through faith in Jesus. Paul continued, saying that he obeyed the vision, and began witnessing to people, saying essentially the same thing that Moses and the Prophets had said about the Messiah suffering, being raised from the dead, and being a light to both Jews and Gentiles. Festus then accused Paul of being insane. Paul said that he was not insane, and appealed to Agrippa to support what he had said. Agrippa was a little skeptical, so Paul prayed that he, and everyone listening, would be converted to believing in Jesus. Festus and Agrippa left, agreeing with each other that Paul was innocent. Agrippa said that Paul could have been freed, had he not appealed to Caesar.

  27. BG | SAB | Paul, and several other prisoners, embarked for Rome, making several stops along the way for due to rough seas and the weather brought about by the approaching winter. Near Crete, Paul warned them that they were going to have a shipwreck, but the centurion in charge pressed on regardless of the warning. The ship encountered a violent storm which lasted for many days. Paul revealed to his shipmates that an angel told him that the ship would be wrecked, but that everyone would survive. Two weeks into the voyage, some soldiers lowered the lifeboat to escape, but Paul warned them that unless they stayed on the boat they would not be saved, so the soldiers cut the ropes holding the lifeboat. Paul encouraged the men, and shared bread with them after thanking God. The following morning, they saw land, and took drastic measures to reach it. On their way to the land, the ship wrecked on a sand bar. The soldiers were going to kill the prisoners to prevent their escape, but the centurion stopped them from doing so. Everyone made it to shore safely.

  28. BG | SAB | The shipwrecked crew discovered that they were on Malta. The locals built a fire for the crew. Paul got bit by a poisonous snake while tending the fire, but was not affected by it. Some people thought that Paul was a god because of this. The island's chief hosted the crew at his home for three days. Paul cured the chief's sick father, and also cured the rest of the sick people on the island. The islanders honored and rewarded Paul and his companions. After winter had passed three months later, the crew continued their voyage on to Rome. Many fellow Christians in the area traveled to meet Paul. Paul was allowed to live by himself in Rome, and was given a soldier to guard him. Three days after reaching Rome, Paul met with the local Jewish leaders and explained that he was in chains in Rome because the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem had relentlessly wanted him dead, forcing him to appeal to Caesar. The local Jewish leaders had not heard anything bad about Paul, so they asked Paul to speak about his views. So, at a later time, Paul witnessed to them about Jesus, and supported what he said with prophesies from Moses and the Prophets. Not all of them believed. Paul said that the Holy Spirit had said rightly through Isaiah that they had calloused hearts and would not listen. Paul concluded by saying that God's Salvation has been given to the Gentiles, and that they would listen. Paul boldly proclaimed about Jesus while in Rome for two years.

John | Acts | Romans

No comments:

Post a Comment