Daily Devotional

In Acts 24 the apostle Paul is in Caesarea by the Sea, standing trial before Governor Felix. Frankly, this is more than an ancient courtroom drama. We get to bear witness to God intervening in Gospel History (History = His Story).

First comes Prosecutor Tertullian with his crazy accusations: “This gospel-preaching lunatic, Paul, is a real pest (literally, a plague)...” (vv. 1-9). That’s quite an indictment. I have been called a pest but never a plague!

Then comes Paul's Personal Defense. “I cheerfully and passionately make my defense as a simple, law-abiding worshiper, who serves the God of our fathers and follows the Way (i.e. the name for Christianity in the first century)...” (vv. 10-21).

In other words, “Why are you so upset. I am serving the God of our fathers exactly the way you taught me to  serve Him.”

We then hear Governor Felix's response: “I need to hear more testimony from this man. (i.e. “This man is intriguing”)  But then Felix adds: “In the meantime, put Paul in custody” (vv. 22-23). I am sure Paul was thinking to himself, “You want to hear more so why throw me back in prison. I won’t leave the area. I am on a mission!” But off to jail, Paul goes.

Felix soon invites Paul to come to speak about faith in Christ, righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. Paul’s words scare Felix greatly, as they should. Yet, he sends for Paul often. Sadly, it was not due to interest in spiritual things. Instead, Felix is hoping for a bribe and a more “entertaining” conversation. Felix also has a political agenda. He wants to placate the Jews. This went on for two years (vv. 24-26). Can you imagine how difficult this was for Paul?

Frankly, the trial should have been over before it began but God had other plans for Paul—as he stood cheerfully and boldly before rulers and kings in order to make “a defense” (Greek: apologia = legal defense) for the hope that lies within him (cf. 1 Peter 3:13-15).

Court is adjourned—for today.

 In the meantime, let’s ponder our own defense. If faith in Christ were a crime today, is there enough evidence to convict us? Do we seem like pests, always “buzzing” about Jesus? Do our words seem like a plague to unrepentant sinners? Do our unbelieving family and friends keep leading us on because we amuse them or in order to placate others? Regardless of the response of the people around us, God is watching. What would He say? Like Paul, we, too, are always on trial! Our story is history - His Story!
Posted in
Tagged with