That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. They went to the leading priests and elders and told them, “We have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. So you and the high council should ask the commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine his case more fully. We will kill him on the way.” (Acts of the Apostles 23:11-15 NLT)
Paul had spoken about the resurrection to the Sanhedrin (Jewish Council). The council was comprised of Pharisees and Sadducees. The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, angels, or spirit. Paul knew this very well. He used this to his advantage. He was a former Pharisee himself. He knew that this issue would cause great debate between the two groups and so he brought it up in order to bring the truth of Jesus resurrection to the table. The debate was so heated that Paul was removed from their midst. However, some of the Jews made a vow not to eat or drink until Paul was dead (I wonder how many kept that vow? If they did, they would have died). They were planning a set up. The council would ask for another meeting with Paul and then they would attack and kill him as he came (talk about your religious peers!!). It is terribly sad that those who profess to be religious can even think of murder. This was a definite indicator of their hearts. Paul was unflinching in his stand for truth. Not even death can threaten the truth!
May God help us to be the same.
Rev. Curtis Norris