Skip to main content

Slipping on Appeal: Acts 25

Paul is on trial. He has been kept in prison, or at least detention, for over two years because he will not bribe the Roman Governor. His passion for truth and righteous behavior exceeds his passion for personal freedom—though doubtless given the opportunity for both, he would have taken them.

Now, Paul is standing trial again for the same things he didn’t do the first time. Think on that reality next time you are answering the same old worn-out attacks on the Faith: if you’re American, you are walking freedom between defenses. Paul has spent the time between Acts 24 and Acts 25 in prison. Simply for the convenience of corrupt governing authorities. That is surely far worse than spending two years fighting stupid IRS paperwork for a year.

(not that I am endorsing just laying down and surrendering to the IRS—just don’t make persecution out of inconvenience.)

As he goes through his trial, he presents why he is on trial. Clearly, he states, his trial is about his adherence to the Gospel. He makes some decisions here that are practical:

1. He refuses to offer the customary bribes. That shows his integrity: when we are faced with a corrupt system, going into the corruption is rarely a good idea. Now, the cross-cultural experts will claim there is a difference in bribes, kickbacks, and a little baksheesh, and there likely is. Here is the dividing line, to me, for a believer in Christ: if you attain justice due to wealth and your fellow believers do not have wealth, and therefore no justice, you should not participate.

2. He refuses to participate in silly shenanigans. The Jewish leaders want him shipped back to Jerusalem to stand trial. Paul recognizes that they will either ambush him on the way or overrun him on the location. After all, did we not meet Paul at a prior case of the Sanhedrin ignoring the Roman rule that they could not execute someone? Paul wisely keeps himself in the hands of a more secular authority. It costs him freedom to roam, but maintains his life and his ability to proclaim the Gospel. After all, it’s his defense: they want me dead because I believe Jesus is the Son of God, crucified, died, risen, and ascended!

3. He refuses to surrender his rights completely. Paul, as a Roman Citizen, has the right to appeal to Caesar. So he does. This keeps him in chains for some time longer, but that was his choice. The plan to dispose of this troublemaker Paul is tied up by his appeal at this point: had Festus and Agrippa set him free, the angry Pharisees would have had their shot at him.

Instead, they slip on his appeal. Paul goes to Rome and proclaims the Gospel. Paul writes letters to encourage churches and church leaders. Paul preaches on Malta. It goes on and on.

Why?

Because Paul kept his head and held his ground.

He held his integrity.

He held his defense.

He held his rights.

We need to do the same. Use all that we have for the sake of the Gospel: our integrity, our rights, our lives for Christ.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…