Good morning! Yesterday, we read a portion of Paul’s rebuttal to the charges that were spoken against him. He began to defend himself with truth and an explanation. Today we will continue to read Paul’s response and the result of his statement. Join me as we read Acts 24:17-23 NLT
17 “After several years away, I returned to Jerusalem with money to aid my people and to offer sacrifices to God. 18 My accusers saw me in the Temple as I was completing a purification ceremony. There was no crowd around me and no rioting. 19 But some Jews from the province of Asia were there—and they ought to be here to bring charges if they have anything against me! 20 Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council[c] found me guilty of, 21 except for the one time I shouted out, ‘I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!’”
22 At that point Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, “Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander, arrives. Then I will decide the case.” 23 He ordered an officer[d] to keep Paul in custody but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to visit him and take care of his needs.
Paul had experienced countless accounts of individuals speaking out against him and Christianity. Yet the Lord used Paul wherever he was.
Remember, Paul began his life and early adulthood as a devote Jew. He followed all the laws, prophets, and traditions, even to the point of persecuting Christians. Yet, one glorious day the Lord appeared to him on the Damascus road and his life changed forever. Paul met with other Christians, disciples and apostles, and understood the Messiah is Jesus the Lord of all – Jesus is the resurrection of life, John 11:25-26a “25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[e] Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”
That through Christ Jesus the prophecies had been fulfilled.
- “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:35)
- “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12; 9:5)
- “I am the Gate.” (John 10:7)
- “I am the Good Shepherd.” (John 10:11,14)
- “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25)
- “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)
- “I am the True Vine.” (John 15:1)
While Paul was on trial, his heart toward the Lord did not change. His love for the Lord remained strong and his trust in him was secure. Because official charges against Paul could not be proven, Paul was given some freedoms that other prisoners were not afforded. Even though Paul was falsely imprisoned for two years, I can only imagine how many people in the prison became believers, how many guards experienced seeing the Lord work through Paul, but also as Paul was allowed to see and have his friends visit we know the work of the church continued and this was when he wrote some of his letters to the church. Man may have limited Paul, but the Lord expanded his reach in the prison, among the soldiers and believers.
Sisters and brothers, there will be many times when we will come under opposition. There are times when others will use the gospel to falsely align to their own motives – the Bible warns us against this. Let us be Christians with a clear conscience and a heart that aligns with the Lord. That when the odds are against us that we continue to be a light in the world. Continue to pray for the church, church leaders and members. Pray for those struggling with drawing near to Christ in this season. Most of all remember who Christ is in this season and in the new year to come.
Let the Lord use you right where you are – wherever you are…
Father God thank you for today. Thank you for reminding us that you are still on the throne. Thank you for the security of knowing you are I Am. Thank you for being the bread of life, the light of the world, the gate, the good shepherd, the resurrection of life, the way, the truth and the life, and the true vine. Lord, there is no one greater than you. Lord, continue to work in us and mature us in faith. Keep us connected to you and our focus on you. Lead us in our everyday decisions. In Jesus name, amen.