Daily Devotional

Acts 23

"I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead" (Acts 23:6)
 I have never been on trial. However, I have served as a jury foreman in a trial in which we, the jury, found  a young man guilty of second-degree murder. I was the one who stood and announced, “We find the defendant guilty!” It was one of the most intense moments of my life.

 In Acts 23 we find the apostle Paul making his defense before the Jewish Council in Jerusalem. In their view,  Paul was on trial for breaking their man-made traditions. Paul puts forward what he is convinced is the main issue: "I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead"—only made possible through faith in Jesus Christ alone (v. 6).  

Paul knew this would always be cause for division throughout the ages (vv. 7 ff). Besides, he was holding on  to God's promise that he "must witness at Rome also" (v. 11). Even threats to kill him would not get in the way (vv. 12ff.).  

 His journey would take him to Caesarea to stand before Governor Felix (Ch. 24), Governor Festus (Ch. 24), King  Agrippa II (Ch. 25-26) and then off to Rome, as promised (Ch. 27-28). At every phase Paul was confident because "the Lord stood at his side." (v. 11).  

Although he wasn't with the other apostles when Jesus ascended into heaven and gave the promise, THIS was Paul's  "I am with you always" moment (cf. Mt. 28:20).  
 It can be ours, as well—no matter where or when. In the words, I once heard from a missionary: "Where He leads me I will follow. What He feeds me I will swallow." Sometimes that involves swallowing a cup of suffering for Jesus (cf. Mk 10:37-39).  

In the Court of Public Opinion we will most likely be on trial and called to testify like Paul: “I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead" (Acts 23:6). May we be FOUND GUILTY of following Jesus—no  matter what the cost!
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