Acts 9:23

Mountains of Utah.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. Acts 9:23

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse indicated that Saul (Paul) was able to prove to the Jews in Damascus that Jesus is the Christ, confounding them. With that, Luke presents their reaction, beginning with, “Now after many days were past.”

Without knowing a complete chronology of what Saul did and where he traveled, it is impossible to know for certain what “many days” means, but Saul may indicate what it means in his words of Galatians 1 –

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.” Galatians 1:15-18

Saul leaves out details that will next be seen in Acts, but Acts provides details that Saul does not refer to in his letter to the Galatians, though he does refer to them elsewhere. In verse 9:26, it does say that he will go to Jerusalem, and so the two appear to match. Thus, the “many days” appears to be a period of about three years. It is after this lengthy period of confounding the Jews that “the Jews plotted to kill him.”

Notice the parallel here to that of Stephen in Acts 6 –

“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’ 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. 13 They also set up false witnesses who said, ‘This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.’” Acts 6:8-14

Saul, like Stephen before him, confounded the Jews with his wisdom, and the Jews plotted to kill him just as they plotted to kill Stephen. The difference is that Saul is now on the receiving end of what he once participated in.

Life application: Paul’s letters repeatedly speak of suffering by those who are in Christ. In 2 Timothy 3:12, he states this explicitly, giving the reason for it, saying, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

This is not the kind of thing that you will normally hear during a Sunday sermon. There are preachers that convey this message, but for the most part other things – happier things – are often focused on. That is too bad because Paul’s words are given to prepare faithful followers of the Lord for such events. Without hearing them analyzed, those in the church who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be unprepared for it and may wonder why something so strange would happen to them.

Life in Christ is one of hope. It is one of faith in what lies ahead. This life may or may not be filled with blessing, and it is one – if lived faithfully – is sure to see suffering. The devil wants nothing more than to rob the joy and the testimony of Christians away from them. Or he will misdirect them through false teachings of prosperity and wealth so that they will be ineffective in a godly, faithful walk.

Be content with what you have, be encouraged in the Lord, and be steadfast with your eyes firmly fixed on Him. Put on the whole armor of God and be prepared for your day, each day, by carrying with you the thought that what Christ promises for the next life will be worth whatever you face in this one.

Heavenly Father, help us to walk contentedly before You all our days. Whether we see blessing and abundance or suffering and loss, may we keep our eyes on Jesus and our hearts and affections directed to You through Him. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.