Paul’s nephew—his sister’s son—heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. (Acts 22:16)


So Paul had a family. And clearly his family cared about him and his well being. I have thought of Paul as quite a severe man. He led the ultimate monk’s life. Hard working, long suffering, he embraced earthy poverty and remained celibate. So it is easy to imagine him with no family. He had been a respected Pharisee and so it is also easy to imagine his family’s response might well have been quite negative when they heard of his spectacular conversion and rigid devotion in this new faith. But it seems that at least some of his family were still actively behind him and supporting him. The courage of Paul’s young nephew and the trust Paul had in him is striking. It is one thing to visit your uncle in prison, perhaps taking him news and provisions. But to have to face the Roman Commander and tell him as well? That would take some nerve. Paul trusted his young nephew and so perhaps the boy acted with added confidence as a result. Also, Paul obviously trusted that the commander would listen to the boy, perhaps because he had seen the lord the night before and been encouraged by him (Acts 22:11)


Acts 23:12-22 NLT

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.” But Paul’s nephew—his sister’s son—heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. Paul called for one of the Roman officers and said, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him.” So the officer did, explaining, “Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?” Paul’s nephew told him, “Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. But don’t do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent.” “Don’t let anyone know you told me this,” the commander warned the young man.


My goal is to trust that the Lord has my own interests at heart. As I worry my way through life wondering how things could possibly work out, I will remember that my family have always been there when I have been in trouble. I will remember Paul, in prison, powerless to influence his own life and death. The Lord kept him safe from every kind of danger. He may have suffered a lot, but ultimately his family were there to support him and help him.

Today’s readings:

1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17, Acts 23:11-35, Psalms 3:1-8, Proverbs 18:14-15


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