Tuesday, June 13

This changes everything

Scripture: Acts 25

Acts 25:19 Rather they had several points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a man named Jesus who was dead, whom Paul claimed to be alive.

Observation

Luke’s concern in these chapters is to show that Paul was a good Roman citizen, innocent of any charges of sedition against the emperor. Luke wrote this during a time of government opposition to the faith and this was his defense: the crown has nothing to fear politically from Christians. 

Governor Festus was out of his depth when it came to the Jewish charges against Paul. Both Felix and Agrippa were better equipped to deal with the Jews. So Festus invited Agrippa to hear Paul’s case. In this verse Festus described what he thought was the issue: not sedition, but some differences about Jewish religion and “about a man named Jesus who was dead, whom Paul claimed (asserted confidently) to be alive.” 

If you look back at ch. 24 and ahead to ch.26, you’ll see that the resurrection of Jesus (and then resurrection in general) is the central idea in Paul’s speeches. Paul knew that Jesus was dead. Then Paul saw Jesus alive—and that changed everything. The resurrection of Jesus was the act of God that changed everything not just for Paul, but all of us.

Application

The gospel centers around the death and resurrection of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:3–5 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Here is the gospel in twin couplets: Christ died for our sins and was buried; Christ was raised on the third day and appeared. These are the central facts of the gospel, the message Paul preached. 

And it changes everything—this life and the life to come.

The fact of Jesus’ resurrection removes our fear of death, and gives us hope beyond the grave—this life is not all there is! But it also changes this life…today…right now.  

Colossians 3:1 Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Paul invites us into the resurrected life of Jesus right now. How will I live today with Jesus? And who can I share this good news with?

Prayer: Lord, I love You. I admit that I’m so used to hearing about the resurrection of Jesus that I take it for granted, that I’m not amazed, stunned by it as Agrippa was in the next chapter (“You are out of your mind!”). Help me today to share this good news of a living Jesus and live the resurrected life. 

More: 2 Kings 11-12, 1 Thessalonians 1