Be of Good Cheer

Be of Good Cheer, Paul

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Be of Good Cheer
ACTS 23 COMMENTARY
Acts 23:6-10 Pharisees and Sadducees

Acts 23:11-15 Be of Good Cheer

Acts 23:16-24 Paul's Nephew
Acts 23:25-35 Claudius Lysias
ACTS 23:11  11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome."

What do the Lord's words, "Be of good cheer, Paul" (Acts 23:11) imply?
Paul wasn't of good cheer.

Why not?
Perhaps he was concerned that he may be killed in Jerusalem. Perhaps he was heartbroken over the souls of the spiritually blind former mentors and classmates of his. Perhaps he wondered if there really hadn't been a way for him to share his testimony with them again. It also must have been right around the Pentecost and he may have longed to be with fellow Christians, both local and those who had traveled to Jerusalem with him, instead of being with Roman soldiers in their barracks.

Why should Paul "be of good cheer" (Acts 23:11)?
He would go to "Rome" (Acts 23:11), which means he will survive Jerusalem. He also will have the privilege to "bear witness" (Acts 23:11) in Rome about Jesus. And he should also be of cheer since instead of spending time with his brothers in Christ, Paul got to spend time with "The Lord" (Acts 23:11) Himself, who personally "stood by him" (Acts 23:11) and encouraged him.

How is that different from what the Lord does today when we are down and/or by ourselves?
It isn't different, "For I am the LORD, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6). Our God - the only true God - isn't distant and impersonal. As powerful as He is, Jesus intimately and personally cares for and loves each of us far more than any human being can. Any Christian who is feeling down or lonely should first kneel and pray to Him for His quiet but incomparably intimate and empowering company, for "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) and always "stands by" His children.

When you are feeling down or lonely, do you first seek the company of Christians or Christ Himself?
 

ACTS 23:12-15  12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. 14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near."

Who were in on "this conspiracy" (Acts 23:13)?
"More than forty" (Acts 23:13) would-be-assassins, plus "the chief priests and elders" (Acts 23:14) from the Sadducees; the Pharisees are unlikely to have joined this conspiracy against Paul since they defended him: "And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God" (Acts 23:9).

For how long did the would-be-assassins expect to "eat nothing" (Acts 23:14)?
Since they expected to kill Paul "tomorrow" (Acts 23:15), less than 24 hours.

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