Nameless Heroes –
Acts 23: 12-17 (NIV)
The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. More than forty men were involved in this plot. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, ‘We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. . . .’ But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” So he took him to the commander.
Reflection by Kenneth L. Samuel
The Apostle Paul played a leading role in the spreading of the gospel and in the establishment of the first-century church. Indeed most of the narrative of the book of Acts is a vivid chronicle of the life, witness and ministry of Paul. But behind every major character, there is always a host of supporting characters.
These are the foot soldiers who work inconspicuously and almost invisibly in the background. They are seldom noted, easily overlooked and almost never remembered. Their names are often forgotten or never mentioned. They are like the nameless young man of Acts 23. Barely noticed. Quite indistinct. Practically obscure. Yet this non-distinct, nameless young man is the agent God used to intercept a plot to murder Paul and to stifle the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles.
To how many nameless heroes and heroines do we owe our success? How many forgotten souls have sacrificed and selflessly intervened on our behalf to save us from pending doom? How many times has God used minor characters to deliver major victories for us? We could so easily forget them and believe that we have made it by our own abilities. But the truth is that without their pivotal contributions, we would not be. A full appreciation of Paul’s life and ministry must also include an appreciation for the life and ministry of the nameless one.
Dear Lord, for the countless, nameless persons whom you have used throughout my life to save my life, I give you thanks. Amen.
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