Acts 23:11

Tom Harding

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–Acts 23:11.

God's servant had been through a most distressing and upsetting time. He had been beaten by the Jews, arrested by the soldiers of Rome and now facing the council of the Sanhedrin, who were about to pull his body apart (Acts 23:10). Paul, like any of us was a man of flesh and blood, subject to like passions of fear, heartache and sorrow. When he needed a word of encouragement he received it from the Lord. Paul, "Be of good Cheer." The Lord is indeed faithful to His people (1Cor. 1:9).

Good cheer came to Paul by the Lord's presence, "The Lord stood by him." When all forsook and despised him, the sweet presence of his Lord was enough to encourage him. The Lord who stood for him as sacrifice and Surety now stood with him as comfort and strength. The Lord Who called him and saved, now sustains him in his hour of need. This is true of every believer. Our gracious Lord has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Isa. 41:10, Matt. 28:19-20; Heb. 13:5).

Good cheer came to Paul by the Lord's power, "thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." We need not fear, our great God is in control. No army of Rome could stop Paul's preaching of the gospel. No legion of demons could stop the spread of the good news of salvation to sinners. Knowing our Lord is in absolute and sovereign control of all things, brings sweet comfort to those who rest in Christ. We have every reason to be of good cheer, the Lord does reign (Psa. 97:1; Rom. 8:28; 11:36 Rev.19:6).

Let me encourage you to be of good cheer. No matter what the day holds, we know Who holds the day, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24). No matter how hopeless the situation appears to be, our time is in His hand, "My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me" (Psalm 31:15). We have every reason to be of good cheer. Listen to the words of our Lord, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). "Behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee" (Matt.9:2).

Tom Harding, Pastor
Zebulon Baptist Church
Pikeville, Ky.


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