February 01, 2021 – Monday
Acts 24:10-15 NIV
10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense.
11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city.
13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.
14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,
15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
Here we find Paul has been transferred to Caesarea for his protection as a Roman citizen where he would be tried under the Roman governor of Judea, Felix, the charges brought by the Sanhedrin. The lawyer for the Sanhedrin has made his case and now Paul begins his defense in the verses above.
Our interest is in verses 14-15 where he states, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. The Way that he speaks of is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is his belief in everything in the Law and all that is written in the Prophets that has led him to his belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. That, as well as his belief in the resurrection to come that has landed him in such trouble with his accusers.
What stands out is Paul is not ashamed of his faith, nor ashamed to publicly affirm it in front of his accusers and Felix. He further bases this faith on the writings of the Jewish faith as well. Paul clearly believes everything, the Law and the Prophets, leads him to receive Jesus Christ as the true Messiah. This was interesting as Pharisees also expected a resurrection based on the Law and the Prophets, but they had not accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Still, standing before a Roman governor, Paul knew Felix was bound by the laws of the Roman empire to allow every man to worship God according to the religion of his country.
The problem was many (most) in leadership in Judea did not agree Paul was worshipping God according to the religion of his country. Nonetheless, Paul was more than willing to be accused of a real faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord as well as being compelled to spreading the Good News about Him.
Turns out Felix had some knowledge of the Way as well and did not turn Paul over to his accusers but kept him in custody as he delayed making a public decision. While in custody Paul was given a great deal of freedom. Felix and his wife Drusilla even had Paul brought before them many times where Paul did his best to convince Felix and his wife of the truth of the Way. This went on for two years as Felix hoped for a bribe before releasing Paul, instead he turned him over to his successor Festus.
Paul sets a great example for us of standing firm in our faith and belief in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Even when falsely accused he stood firm and clearly stated his faith. With no relief in sight, while still in custody, he continued to present the Good News to those who refused it. Paul was not just an apostle to the Gentiles (us) but also an exemplar on how one should stand firm in the faith no matter what accusations you may face.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Thank you for the example of Paul and others who stood firm on the knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Help me, help us, to do the same should our time ever come. – In Jesus name. Amen.