[Paul speaking] "Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense." When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.
Thoughts for Today:The term "defense" is translated from the Greek word apologia (apology). It's not used in the same way as we would when apologizing for an offense. Rather, Paul is offering a defense for his conduct, his life.
I watched a movie the other night titled "Defending Your Life", which starred Albert Brooks (who also wrote and directed the film). The main character Daniel Miller (Brooks) -- moments after death -- is given a room, a nap, an omelet, and a court date in Judgment City, where he and his attorney have five days to defend his actions throughout his lifetime. Each day in a courtroom/movie theater type of setting, he watches scenes from his life, and then is forced to answer probing questions from the prosecutor about his motivation related to certain behavior. In one episode the prosecutor suggests Daniel was too afraid to retaliate when a teenage bully hit him; his attorney claims it was restraint; then, when asked to sum up the event, Daniel thoughtfully says, "I really like the restraint idea."
Isn't that the case with us as well? Always trying to find a really good explanation/excuse for why we've acted in a way that isn't too flattering. Or just the opposite: How many times have we been misunderstood and wished we had the opportunity to clarify our reasons for doing something? In our passage today, Paul has just such a chance -- to defend his beliefs and his actions. What would you say?
Questions to Ponder:If you had the opportunity to fully explain yourself in one of the great misunderstandings of your life, what would you say? Who would be present? Would they believe you? In life I have found it is less important what others think than what I think. Be honest with yourself, are you guilty of, like Daniel Miller, trying to put a positive spin on some aspect of your life rather than accepting responsibility for it? Is it time to release some real or perceived injustice to the Lord?