Acts 23:23-24:9; Judges 20; Psalm 45
Paul was whisked out from under the noses of the Jews who lay in wait to kill him and brought to Felix in Caesarea. Felix got a letter from the Roman in charge in Jerusalem that explained the situation. Then, the Jews brought forth their accusation. “’I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains.’[Claudius Lysias] … ‘For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.’” [Tertullus](Acts 23:29, 24:5-6) Claudius was befuddled – he didn’t think Paul needed to be imprisoned. The Jews, however, hired a good Roman lawyer, if the name is any indication, and sought to judge Paul by Jewish law which would have meant death. I guess it shows that sometimes how we see things becomes a matter of perspective. Paul thought he was doing God’s will. The Romans didn’t care one way or another. The Jews who worshiped the same God as Paul sought to kill him. As followers of Christ today we often have disagreements with other followers. We usually recognize that what we say and do comes from following God; what those other (heretic) followers are doing is probably worthy of death – although we wouldn’t say it out loud; while the world looks on us and laughs at us. It is in these times that we should remember these wise words: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. Our testimony about Jesus Christ to the world would improve tremendously.
Lord, even though I know that my way is always right because I’m following You, give me the willingness to recognize that I may actually be wrong. Help me to understand the essentials of faith. Give me the strength to accept differences on non-essential items of faith. Give me the grace to show Your love to others in the midst of our differences.