Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 33-34; Acts 24
10 The governor nodded at Paul, giving him permission to speak.
He responded, “I know that you have been judge over this nation for many years, so I gladly offer my own defense. 11 You can verify that I went up to worship in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago. 12 They didn’t find me arguing with anyone in the temple or stirring up a crowd, whether in the synagogue or anywhere else in the city. 13 Nor can they prove to you the allegations they are now bringing against me. 14 I do admit this to you, that I am a follower of the Way, which they call a faction. Accordingly, I worship the God of our ancestors and believe everything set out in the Law and written in the Prophets. 15 The hope I have in God I also share with my accusers, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 On account of this, I have committed myself to maintaining a clear conscience before God and with all people. 17 After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring gifts for the poor of my nation and to offer sacrifices.18 When they found me in the temple, I was ritually pure. There was no crowd and no disturbance. 19 But there were some Jews from the province of Asia. They should be here making their accusations, if indeed they have something against me. 20 In their absence, have these people who are here declare what crime they found when I stood before the Jerusalem Council. 21 Perhaps it concerns this one statement that I blurted out when I was with them: ‘I am on trial before you today because of the resurrection of the dead.’” (Acts 24:10-21, Common English Bible).
“Jesus didn’t defend himself when he stood trial before both the Sanhedrin and before Pontius Pilate. Shouldn’t that be a clear indication to us we shouldn’t defend ourselves?”
Believe it or not, I have actually heard this argument several times since entering the ministry. If you don’t want to read further, such an assumption is incorrect and we see evidence that this hypothesis is wrong in our lesson today. Paul defended himself.
When Jesus stood before first, Caiaphas and later Pilate, he did not put up a defense because it would have gone against his entire life’s work and mission here on earth. Jesus had done no wrong but was taking on the sins of the world. If he had defended himself, Jesus may never have gone to the cross. If Jesus does not go to the cross, you and I do not see our sins forgiven.
As for Paul, his call was not to take on the world’s sins. Paul knew that had already been done. What God called Paul to do was to proclaim Jesus who died for his sins and for the sins of all around him. Paul was to let the world know of the grace of God through Jesus Christ. In order for Paul to continue to let the world know, Paul had to defend himself.
I believe God would say, even in matters of faith, we are to defend ourselves and to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved