Acts 24.10-21

Today we see Paul launch his defence:

When the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, “Because I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense. As you can verify for yourself, not more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. They did not find me arguing with anyone or stirring up a crowd in the temple courts or in the synagogues or throughout the city, nor can they prove to you the things they are accusing me of doing. But I confess this to you, that I worship the God of our ancestors according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law and that is written in the prophets. I have a hope in God (a hopethat these men themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. This is the reason I do my best to always have a clear conscience toward God and toward people. After several years I came to bring to my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings, which I was doing when they found me in the temple, ritually purified, without a crowd or a disturbance. But there are some Jews from the province of Asia who should be here before you and bring charges, if they have anything against me. Or these men here should tell what crime they found me guilty of when I stood before the council, other than this one thing I shouted out while I stood before them: ‘I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead.’”

(Acts 24.10-21, NET)

Paul clearly states that no witness can be found that he was arguing with anyone or stirring up the crowd and that the things he is accused of are unable to be proven (v.13). He identifies himself with those accusing him rather than as a dangerous radical (v.15) and presents truths about his recent visit to Jerusalem (vv.17-18, cf. Romans 15.26).

Paul then states that those who had real issues with him were not even present and that his alleged ‘heresy’ was actually something that some of those present also believed (vv.19-21, cf. Acts 23.8). F.F. Bruce writes:

“This was a strong point in his defense: the people who had raised the hue and cry in the first instance, claiming to be eyewitnesses of his alleged sacrilege, had not troubled to be present.”

By simply stating the facts of the case Paul’s position looks instantly stronger.

Truth is a powerful tool.

As believers we are called to be humble and meek, yes, but never a pushover (Matthew 5.5). The idea is power under control. Think of a huge horse calmly carrying a child on its back: powerful enough to throw them off, but in-control enough not to. We should never be afraid to display the power of the truth, whether that is in situations where we are falsely accused (as Paul was) or bigger picture when saying what we believe about life, death, life, and love.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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