Jesus, I praise You for all that You have done for me. You are my God.
Read Acts 24:1–21
Paul’s Trial Before Felix
24 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.
5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him.  [a] 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”
9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.
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. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”
a Acts 24:7 Some manuscripts include here him, and we would have judged him in accordance with our law. 7 But the commander Lysias came and took him from us with much violence, 8 ordering his accusers to come before you.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectReflect on all that Christ has done for you.
Have you ever been falsely accused? Imagine how Paul felt hearing the smooth-tongued lawyer (2,3) set out the charges, which the chief priests and leaders were making (5,6). Were any of them true? Whilst the Jewish leaders would have preferred to deal with this themselves in Jerusalem, this was their opportunity to sort Paul out once and for all.
Events were moving quickly—for the moment. Two weeks after Paul had arrived in Jerusalem, he was facing the governor in Caesarea. His visit to the Temple provoked a riot and the Romans, always fearful of uprisings, tried to calm things down. But the discovery that he was a Roman citizen put things in a different light.
Paul could now tell his side of the story. In the process he was able to witness to Jesus and the resurrection hope (15,21). When we’re in trouble, we don’t always have the opportunity to speak of Jesus. But notice how Paul tried to be prepared (16). A good conscience and good relationships can win us a good hearing even when we’re under pressure.
Pray that today you might have the opportunity to speak with someone about your experience of Christ. What do you think you might say?
Jesus, show me those who are in need of You today, that I may share Your heart with them.
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