THE HIGH PRIEST
1-6. Paul hears the order to smite him on the mouth, but did not know who spake. When it turned out to be the high priest, he apologized. In the gospel dispensation (1 Peter 2), we see the priesthood is transferred to the membership, justification making you a priest, and sanctification a high priest, corresponding to the two courts of the temple in the sanctum and the sanctum sanctorum. The high priest first offered the sacrifice in the sight of the people; then he went into the Holy of Holies and interceded for them, after coming out and blessing them. So our great High Priest first offered His sacrifice on Calvary, in presence of the people; then He went up to heaven to intercede. Finally, He will come back to bless the people in the glorious millennial theocracy.
PAUL APPEALS TO THE PHARISEES
The Sadducees were rationalistic infidels, i. e., high critics. While the Pharisees were orthodox, they were spiritually dead. Pursuant to the Pauline policy, “All things to all men,” he here very shrewdly avails himself of the sympathy and co-operation of the Pharisees, beautifully illustrating to us that amiable and invaluable gift of the Spirit denominated wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8). God expects us to use the intelligence He has given us.
THE CONSPIRACY AND DELIVERANCE
11-35. That mighty vision was the secret of Paul’s redoubtable courage and sanctified versatility. He knew he was to “see Rome.” God’s heroes are immortal until the last battle is fought. What a formidable conspiracy! Forty stalwarts, oath-bound never to eat nor drink until they kill Paul. God quickens the acute ears of Paul’s little nephew, unnoticed by the conspirators. Lysias here shows up a noble character, as well as true loyalty in the protection of a Roman citizen. When Martin Cozta, an Americanized Hungarian, was condemned by the Austrian General at Smyrna, on the Mediterranean, to die, Captain Ingram, with only one hundred men, in command of the United States warship St. Louis, delivered him out of the hands of one hundred thousand Austrian soldiers. Lysias sends two hundred infantry and seventy cavalry to take Paul, at nine o’clock that night, and carry him safe to Governor Felix, at Caesarea, with an explanatory letter stating how he had interposed and rescued Paul, regardless of expense and labor, because he was a Roman citizen. Here we see Paul’s old Lictorian Pharisaical identity and his political rights are all laid under contribution to save his life. God works by means. Some things He can do through wicked, worldly people, like the Roman soldiers, and other things He can do through dead church members, like the Pharisees.
God help us to appreciate His providence as well as His grace. Herod had a palace at Caesarea and a judgment-hall in it, which, we find, becomes the comfortable quarters of Paul.
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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Acts 23". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany