In Acts 23, Paul ended his third missionary journey and went to Jerusalem. Even though he knew hardships and dangers awaited him, he disregard them and went anyway. This is because Paul was a Jew, and he wanted desperately to tell the Gospel to his fellow people and to save them. Also, it is because Paul knew that he believed in the only true God.
Why are there so many Christians who are so passive in serving and spreading the Gospel? Why are some Christians distressed in the face of difficulties and frustrations? Because they do not believe Jesus has already won the victory. If they do, they would put their lives behind them, just like Paul; they would go anyway, even if their lives are threatened. Only when you truly believe in God and serve with that faith can you meet God. Then, your life will be changed forever.
The high priest at the time, Ananias, did not believe in Jesus’s resurrection. For a priest to have no faith is like being a Christian who do not believe in Jesus. Paul described Ananias as a whitewashed wall, like a tomb. It is painted and decorated on the outside, but nothing but death is inside.
Why do we have to read the Bible and to serve? Because we cannot see and experience God without serving. If we do not serve, all we have is objective knowledge about God, not subjective experiences of God. We may learn many Truth by listening to many preaches, but those would not be your own experience.
Sadducees and Pharisees were mentioned in this chapter. They were all Jews, but they were divided because they held different perspectives. On this earth, no one is perfect; we are all sinners. It is unavoidable that people serving together have different opinions, but we need to know that disagreements may be great opportunities for our growth.
Our lives are like an ocean. When we are sailing in the ocean, we may strike a reef at any moment. However, God will not remove the reef, instead, He will rise you. God will change your life. When you are lifted high enough, you will not strike the reef even if it is still there; it can no longer harm you. If you are shallow, you may crush on the tiniest rock. That is to say, all the hardships cannot get to you only when your spiritual life is mature enough.
It is written in Psalms 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” We all have to go through the darkest valley to reach the table God prepare for us. If we can trust God like Paul did, we will fear no difficulty.
In this chapter we see how Paul longed to spread the Truth, and how God helped him to achieve great things. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Jerusalem is your family, Judea is your fellow people, and Samaria is all the people around you. Spreading the Gospel is our mission and responsibility as Christians. Act now, do not hesitate. Do what you must do, and God will do His work.