[Paul speaking] "After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin -- "
Thoughts for Today:Paul is saying, "I was in the temple to do good (gifts for the poor and to present offerings), I was ceremonially clean, there was no crowd and I wasn't agitating anyone -- I was just minding my own business -- so if anyone says I did something wrong, at least they should be here to speak." Tertullus (the hired "legal gun") and Ananias (the chief priest) were present, yet they had not witnessed Paul's actions. Mosaic Law required every accusation to be confirmed by at least two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15), therefore Paul had discounted Tertullus' accusations as "hearsay" (information that is heard from other people) and inadmissible so to speak.
Certainly the Jews have trouble with their case before Felix, however one glaring problem is Paul's lack of witnesses. Remember it was James (and the other leaders of the Jerusalem church) who had instructed Paul to go to the temple in the first place. Where were they when it came to defending their brother?
I read a story recently about an 18 year old who had become cheerleader for her high school. On the surface it isn't a remarkable story except Brittany Blythe was born without shinbones (at two years of age her legs had to be amputated from the knee down). Her lifelong dream was to become a cheerleader despite doubt from her coaches in her ability to do the stunts. Yet Brittany was undaunted and in 2007 when her high school won a junior varsity cheer leading tournament, she was right there with them, dancing and cheering with the rest of the squad.
When I first shared this story with my wife, her first thought was, "She must have had some really great parents to help her get through it all." How important is support for those who have big plans, and where does that support come from?
Questions to Ponder:Where does your strength come from? Parent, husband, wife, family, friends, etc? How strong are your convictions and your faith if you were forced to stand alone? The Psalmist asks the question (Psalms 27:1): "Whom shall I be afraid; Whom shall I fear?" Then answers: "The Lord is my light and salvation; The Lord is my stronghold." Is your faith in your support group or in the Lord -- the only One with the power to save?