Review of Acts 23

by Pastor Ayo Sparks

This chapter is Paul’s second Self-defence before the Jews. Now it was given more formally before the Sanhedrin and not before the angry crowd. His defence focused more on the hope of Salvation, and that split the whole council into two with the result that the hearing was cut short in confusion. The following episode of the Jewish plot against Paul and his subsequent transfer to Caesarea emphasizes the Jewish antipathy and the Roman (Gentile) goodwill toward Christianity, which is a theme typical of Luke.

The Sicario:

Movie lovers, are you home? You must have seen the movie titled Sicario 1 & 2, The Hitman Bodyguard, Hitman man, agent 47…

Well, here’s another Sicario scenario:

Acts 23:1-2 NET Paul looked directly at the council and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a CLEAR CONSCIENCE before God to this day.” At that the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.

It sounds annoying asides being off to the ears, when a man who you know that if caught by international law enforcement should be either in Assylum or sentenced to death say he committed those crimes out of a good conscience.

Stephen didn’t commit any crime asides being a part of the way. He helped feed the widows neglected by the government, his action and that of a host of others helped reduce crime on the streets of Jerusalem. Yet you ordered his death and you dare say “Clear Conscience”

Well, that’s not why the High Priest hit Paul, he also didn’t know better…

Yet, Paul was actually telling his truth and it is based on the motive in which he used to serve both as a Pharisee and an Apostle.

His motives were clear, he did all for God. He was blameless to no fault, Phil. 3:6

Paul exemplified the Perfect Sicario (Spanish for Hitman). Hitmen don’t have consciences, they are propelled by assignment. There is never a mission impossible for a Sicario, that’s why theologians could debate whether Paul’s going to Jerusalem was by Spirit or by Disobedience. He was a Sicario, the mission comes first.

Now! Did you also know that God initially didn’t create Man with a conscience? To have a conscience is to have a sense of right or wrong.  The tree of conscience and the tree of life were accessible, God didn’t mind us eating from life but he warned against having the knowledge of good and evil. Having being born again too, he removed the law because if it’s incessant consciousness of sin which it gave and through the Spirit we became slaves to righteousness.

So, dear believer, I know you sometimes feel guilty for the wrong you do, yes, despite your being a believer, you still find yourself in the wrong… What you did was wrong but you don’t have to feel guilty, you don’t have to feel condemned.

The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of No Condemnation…

The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of No Guilt and Shame…

The Spirit of Christ is your New Conscience…

1 John 3:19-24 NET

And by this we will know that we are of the truth and will convince our conscience in his presence, *that if our conscience condemns us, that GOD IS GREATER THAN OUR CONSCIENCE and knows all things. Dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God, and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing to him. *Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment.* And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us.

Who are you?

You are a Sicario of Grace…

You are a Hitman unto Holiness.

Keep telling yourself this truth about who you are and you’d suddenly realise that all those habits you are not proud of melts like ice under a hot sun.


1. When Jesus was with the woman caught in Adultery. He told the law keepers that if they had never sinned, they should stone her. The reason why they couldn’t was not because they didn’t have the backing of the Torah to stone her but they couldn’t because of their conscience.

Ananias got a response that defined the Pharisees _whitewashed wall_ what you see is not what there really is.

2. Ananias was later killed in AD 66 by a radical Jewish revolunary group called Sicarii

…such is life, isn’t i                                                               t

The Visitation:

Acts 23:11 KJVA And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

At the end of Paul’s defence before the Sanhedrin, God visited Paul to encourage him. Of course, this is not the only time for him to have such an experience.

In fact, Luke makes it clear that God visited Paul to encourage him and make him strong: in Troas (16.9), in Corinth (18.9-10), to send him out of Jerusalem to protect him (22.17), to send him to Rome (23.11), and to give him assurance of deliverance from shipwreck (27.22).

Sometimes when I read Paul, I just wonder…

Does it mean that me now don’t deserve visitation?

Paul had many drama going on for him, from his conversion even to his death, his experiences and dealings somewhat were telling us a story.

Dear believer, do you need God’s visitation? I know you want to say yes badly!!!

Don’t worry, GOD IS NOT A VISITOR IN HIS OWN HOME! A Believer does not need a divine visitation because he is Gods divine Habitation.

Never forget that Christ lives in you! Even the Paul that had those experiences never taught us to ask for visitation.

Tell it to yourself 7 times!!!

Christ Lives in me!

Christ Lives in me!

Christ Lives in me!

Christ Lives in me!

Christ Lives in me!

Christ Lives in me!

Christ Lives in me!

To those who felt Paul disobeyed by going to Jerusalem, here’s another banger… “God said, as you have testified in Jerusalem, get ready for Rome!”

The challenges of life becomes less impacting when we trust that our parts are ordered by God. Imagine God didnt tell Paul that he will save him, rather that he will be with him.

Are you going through a tough time at the moment? My dear, God is with you, you can’t feel him, I know, I can’t too but I know he is, if he is with me causing lines to fall in pleasant places, then he with you, arranging events and situations for his ultimate glory.

Can we together as people accepted in his beloved affirm our trust in our Father?

Daddy God, I don’t feel like it, I don’t feel like you are here.. .Well, I know I don’t have to, but I trust you- I TRUST YOU!


There is nothing ‘miraculous’ in the story of Paul’s rescue from the plot of the Jews against him. His nephew got wind of it, and told Paul. Paul in turn informed the Roman commander about it and the commander did whatever he could to save Paul from the attempt by the Jews to assassinate him.

God surely delivered him from the Jews but he did so through the natural course of everyday life. Sometimes he does use ‘extraordinary things to carry out his purpose (16.25-40), but many a time he does his work in ordinary’ ways through human beings,

Even today we hear numerous reports of extraordinary things that God is doing throughout the world. Of course, we should thank God for such remarkable works, but that should not blind us from perceiving the hand of God working silently but diligently through those people who faithfully fulfil their duty in their own everyday lives.

Most times, we pray that God should use us to do miraculous things, little did we know that it doesn’t have to be miraculous for it to be remarkable.

It behooves us as believers that wherever we find ourselves, we should see it as an opportunity to serve. Let’s use where we are for the glory of God.

Your banking job is an avenue to do remarkable things…

Your nursing job? Your teaching job? Whatever you do, wherever you do it… #BeRemarkable

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