But God Raised Him From The Dead
“Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. “For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. “And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.
“Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. “But God raised Him from the dead. Acts 13:26-30
Apostle Paul was a chosen vessel of Jesus Christ to bear His name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. As a result he would suffer many things for Jesus sake. Paul had a genuine deep love of the brethren and it was the prayer and desire of his heart that the God of peace, who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make His people complete in every good work to do His will, working in them what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.
Paul’s passions were to live and die for the Gospel, to serve the brethren and to have an abundant supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. For the bible records:
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. Philippians 1:12-26
Paul seemed to be in a quandary between to live or to die. He had a desire to depart and be with Christ which was far better or to remain in the flesh and help the brethren. But Apostle Paul did not take the fact lightly the fact of dying or that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, to be the first man who would have eternal life.
The fact that we should not trust in ourselves in all circumstances and situations but in God who raises the dead was an integral part of Paul’s epistles. Primarily because Apostle Paul knew what it was like to die and be resurrected from the dead. The bible records:
Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. Acts 14:19-20
Three times Paul was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, and three times he was shipwrecked. Alexander the coppersmith did Paul much harm and he asked that the Lord repay him according to his works.
So Paul was not talking about the saving and delivering power of God out of his head but out of his real experiences? He personally knew the God of all comfort who comforted him in his real troubles and tribulations! The bible records:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Corinthians 1:3-5
Paul knew what suffering, trouble and the spilling of blood were in personal terms. As he had experienced much of it. But also etched in Paul’s mind was his participation in the death of Stephen. The bible records:
“You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, “who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”
When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:51-60
Stephen’s untimely death for the gospel in a way created a martyr syndrome for Apostle Paul who wanted to die also for the gospel. The bible records:
And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”
Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.” Acts 21:10-14
Paul would not be persuaded from going to Jerusalem and even dying there for the name of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Himself appeared to Paul and told Him:
“Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” Acts 23:12
Hence at the end of his life Apostle Paul made it to Rome and he was able to say that he was “an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” and that he had fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. The bible records:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica-Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 2 Timothy 4:6-10
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