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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

St Paul Preaches to the Sanhedrin

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Acts 22:30; 23:6–11
 
Paul stands before the Sanhedrin
 
Called to appear before the Jewish Council, Paul shrewdly set his opponents against one another.  He said that he was on trial for his belief in the resurrection of the dead, in which the Pharisees believed but the Sadducees did not.
 
Paul’s declaration was not just a clever ploy: it was true that the heart of his witness was the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus and our share in that resurrection.
 
If we have truly experienced Christ’s resurrection power for ourselves, like Paul we will want to proclaim it to others.  For Paul, his experience of the risen Christ was so powerful that he had an unsuppressable drive to preach the gospel.  This is how he was able to endure great suffering and persecution – imprisonment, beating, shipwreck, hunger – in order to testify to Christ.
 
We may not be called to suffer in the way that Paul was, but each of us is called to be witness to Christ’s resurrection for those we meet in our homes, workplaces and communities.
 
We tend to find sharing our faith difficult in today’s secular environment, but it is God who gives us the power to bear witness, and just as Paul’s preaching flowed from his encounter with the risen Christ, so can ours.
 
If we spend time in prayer and try to listen to the Holy Spirit, we shall gain greater enthusiasm to preach the gospel and find more opportunities so to do.
 
Lord Jesus, we proclaim that our hope is in your resurrection.  We pray that we may come to experience more fully the power of that resurrection, and bring it to those around us every day.
 
Chris
 
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Determined to Witness

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Acts 14:19-28
 
Paul was mercilessly stoned and then dragged and dumped outside the city walls.  We need to remember that every time we encounter Paul, whether through his story retold in Acts or through his writings, we are encountering a man who suffered profoundly for his faith – even to paying the ultimate price.
 
But no amount of suffering would deter him from his mission of preaching the Good news: “when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city” (v.20).  Sometimes we get knocked down, sometimes we trip and fall; either way the gospel is all about getting up again.
 
Lord, we are your people, the sheep of your flock.  Heal the sheep who are wounded.  Touch the sheep who are in pain.  Clean the sheep who are soiled.  Warm the lambs who are cold.  Help us all to know the Father’s love.  Renew us so that we may help renew the face of the earth.
 
Chris
 
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