Posts Tagged ‘high priest’

Verses 22-24: “So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.” And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.””

The official last regular episode of the TV show Little House on the Prairie was subtitled The Last Farewell. To sum up the plot (to the best of my recollection…this was some years ago!), a land/railroad baron had obtained legal ownership of the land of Walnut Grove. The townsfolk were distraught to find out that all they had worked for and built up would soon belong to this land/railroad baron. Though some were ready to fight, most didn’t want to see bloodshed, but the baron was bringing the local cavalry to evict them. In a meeting on Easter weekend, the townsfolk fought back the only way they knew. One of the recent new citizens had a wagonload of dynamite, and they all decided to blow up the buildings, which they still owned. In a bitter ending to the episode, you saw the residents blow up their buildings, from Laura and Almanzo’s house to the Olesens’ mercantile store. Only the Little House and the school/church still stood, because Reverend Alden couldn’t bring himself to destroy God’s house (and the townsfolk understood). When the weekend ended, the cavalry, the baron, and leaders from other communities (that the baron was in the process of trying to get their land too) rode back into town to see it demolished. The baron was furious, demanding the commander to arrest them, but Charles Ingalls was quick to point out that the baron owned the land, not the buildings…he was free to rebuild. Of course, the baron was upset that he would have to fork over a lot of cost to use the land with wrecked buildings on it. More so, the leaders from the other towns threatened that he would find their towns in the same shape if he bought their land with his schemes. Reverend Alden tearfully prayed that “thank the Lord, Walnut Grove’s sacrifice wasn’t in vain”. The show ended with all the citizens travelling out of the destroyed town, filing past the Little House on their way.

Somehow this scene came to mind when reading how Claudius Lysias, the Roman commander, decided to deal with the murder-minded Jews. He had had enough, so after dismissing Paul’s nephew cordially, he had two centurions assemble one huge military force to handle any battle…all to make sure that Paul was escorted to the Roman governor Felix. He knew that the Jews wouldn’t be foolish enough to try any shenanigans on the governor’s grounds. Plus, Felix could hear for himself what the charges were by having Paul AND his accusers lay out their cases. Finally, it also relieved him of the headache of having to deal with this dilemma, I believe. This was how Lysias “fought back” in the only way he could; he ensured the Roman law was followed but steered clear of Jewish politics. Amazing how God works, isn’t it?

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the “gray areas” in our society. Lots of folks on both sides argue back and forth, stating their cases and making their schemes. What we should do as Christians is do as Jesus instructs us. God’s Word has all the answers; we use them and calling on our “governor”, or should I say our High Priest, Jesus Christ, for His power and His wisdom in navigating murky waters.

Something to think about.

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Verse 29: “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

The special technical programmer was in a quandary: the project manager wanted him to code the program in a certain way. However, the business customer wanted him to code it in a different way. And then the architect had his own way he wanted it done. None of the three stakeholders could agree on how to do it. Meanwhile, the programmer calmly coded the logic, tested it, and presented it ready to elevate to production. All three of the stakeholders said, “Why did you code it this way?” “I followed the advice of my organizational manager who I answer to, and followed his model” he said. “But why did you take his orders over ours?” they asked. “Because,” said the programmer, “he signs my paycheck!”

The apostles had been thrown into prison by the high priest and the Sadducees. However, an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and told them to go to the temple and to teach. When the high priest had the guards bring them (note it was non-violently, lest they arouse a mob) and asked, “Why are you still doing this when we told you to stop?”, Peter and the others tell them why: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Throughout the years, there have been times when the laws of man and the law of God were in conflict. There have been documented cases of civil disobedience. I remember telling my son once that he needs to defend himself if he gets bullied in school, although the rules are structured in such a way that both participants in a fight are disciplined. He asked, “but I’ll get in trouble too.” I told him, “you may get into trouble with the school, but you won’t be in trouble with me, if you are in the right.” The apostles were more concerned with what God commanded than what man commanded.

In this day and time, when it seems man wants to flaunt sin in God’s face under the guise of laws…remember what Peter and the apostles said.

Something to think about today.

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I spoke yesterday of the many references in the Old Testament of the word “breastplate”, the majority of those references being found in Exodus. In scanning those Exodus verses, I found that those references were to the priestly garb that Aaron was to wear when he performed his duties. Exodus lists in exquisite detail the instructions the Lord gave Moses as to the construction of the tabernacle, as well as how the priest was to be garbed. Among the priestly breastplate’s construction were precious stones that would represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

Remember, that among the high priest’s main duties was to act as an intercessor for the people before God. In the New Testament, the greatest intercessor, our high priest, is Jesus Christ Himself. I see those stones on the breastplate being reminders that we are not far from God’s heart…that He loves us very much. He wants us to be free from guilt and sin. We can only do that through the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on our behalf as the atoning sacrifice for our sins…once and for all.

Are you probably garbed to do His work today?

Have a blessed day, and a blessed Thanksgiving!

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