Offended or Overjoyed?

It was a legal hearing to determine the charges against him.  The Roman commander had called for the Jewish ruling council to investigate Paul.  If the council was able to prove its charges against him, then the Roman commander would probably turn Paul over to them, and they would almost certainly execute him.

With his own life hanging in the balance, Paul stood to defend himself.  He started by claiming his innocence but the council refused to hear that.  What would he do?  What could he possibly say to a group that was so hostile toward him and bent on ending his life?  Here’s what he did say, “I am on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” (See Acts 22:30-23:10)

For the Apostle Paul, everything he believed and everything he lived for came down to the resurrection.  The resurrected Jesus Christ had appeared to Paul on that road to Damascus and everything changed.  Since Jesus was really resurrected, then the resurrection became the most important thing in life.

Not everybody agreed with Paul about the importance of the resurrection.  Paul’s Gospel made many people angry but at the same time it brought great joy to many others.  The message of a resurrected Lord Jesus who is the only Savior sent from God still has the same effects today.  Some are offended that Jesus is presented as the only way to eternal life.  Others are overjoyed.

At Easter we make it a special point to emphasize this one great truth: Jesus was raised again so we will be, too.  Jesus said that a day is coming when all will be raised, the just and the unjust.  Those who did good will rise to live and those who practiced evil will rise to be judged (John 5:28-29).  We rejoice about the resurrection because Jesus himself is our guarantee of goodness.

May God’s Spirit lift you up and fill you with the joy of his salvation,

Brother Richard Foster

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