Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
After 5 days, the high priest, Anaias, came down to Caesarea and brought Paul’s case before the governor Felix. Their accusations were made up, for the most part, and in verse 5 the attorney Tertullius says:
“For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. “And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. [We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. “But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you.] By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.” The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so. When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: “Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense, since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. “Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city itself did they find me carrying on a discussion with anyone or causing a riot. “Nor can they prove to you the charges of which they now accuse me. “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men. “Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings; in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar But there were some Jews from Asia who ought to have been present before you and to make accusation, if they should have anything against me. “Or else let these men themselves tell what misdeed they found when I stood before the Council, other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.'”But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.” Then he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him. But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened.NOTE that Paul was a real pest, a fellow who stirs up dissension among the religious Jews around the world, a ringleader of the group of the Nazarenes (named after Jesus of Nazareth), he was considered a revolutionary!
But just being these things doesn’t qualify a person to be a REVOLUTIONARY in the sense of being a part of a movement of transformation. NOTE what else Paul uses to describe himself.
1. a servant of the God of our fathers, JUST AS THOSE JEWISH LEADERS VIEWED THEMSELVES.2. believing all that is in accordance with the Law and the Prophets, JUST AS THESE LEADERS BELIEVED.3. having a hope in God that there will be the resurrection someday, JUST AS THESE LEADERS HOPED IN THE RESURRECTION.4. doing his best to maintain a good conscience before God and men, JUST AS THESE LEADERS WANT TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES.
So, what’s the difference here? Well, Paul is appealing to the hearts of his hearers. They have plenty of common ground to bind them together. They serve the same God. They believe in the same kind of practices that are righteous. They hoped in the same resurrection from the dead. They believed in keeping a good conscience before God and men.
The difference is in the reality of the experience. Paul didn’t just talk a good game, but he walked it, too. He really practiced these same things that they all taught and believed in. He was not a hearer of the word who deludes himself. A hearer who deludes himself is one who hears a truth, agrees with it and becomes all enthused about it, yet does nothing about it. Don’t be merely a hearer of the word, but BE A DOER OF THE WORD.
Jesus said, “A wise man is one who hears my word and practices it and a foolish man is one who hears my word and doesn’t practice it.” And then He said, “Just because you speak or perform miracles in my name, this doesn’t mean that you are genuine related to Me.”
“But those who do my will are the ones who will enter the kingdom of heaven.” PAUL WAS A DOER. HE PRACTICED WHAT HE PREACHED! He was the real deal. And, when you are the real deal, religious people tend to get jealous and angry and want you removed in some form.
The simplest instruction I’ve ever heard is, “SEE WHAT JESUS SAID AND DID, THEN GO SAY IT AND DO IT!” That’s what it takes to be a revolutionary!