The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Acts 24:10-21 gives us Paul’s testimony in court. He has been accused of causing dissension and riots, of defiling the temple, and of otherwise being some sort of evil revolutionary. We notice that Paul responds by asserting what he has actually been doing. He does not try to defend his character except through his actions.
History shows that he has been in the city for a limited period of time. During that time there were no riots, no complaints of seditious acts, and he was seen in the temple but not with any Gentiles. Paul then shifts the burden of proof to his accusers. He is open to the charge of believing in the resurrection, as did all his ancestors. This is no crime.
Often our arguments are fought over matters which are not relevant to our overall life situation. Paul was accused of some secondary issues. He chose to defend the primary issue, that of the resurrection. He neatly avoided the need to define what it is to be a disease, what constitutes stirring up dissension, and what kind of controversies the sect of the Nazarenes would pursue. He focused on the issue of purification in the temple and on the matter of the resurrection. That, after all, was what caused the dispute earlier.
Are we willing to stand for the truth? Are we willing to face the criticism of our peers to do so? Then let us do it wholeheartedly. At the same time, we find ways of presenting that truth in a clear and winsome manner. Then maybe more people will hear the truth.
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