Acts Chapter 25, Verses 7 and 8 say that when Paul had arrived the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense neither against the law of the Jews. Nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense. I’m reading this, and I can’t help but think about Jesus’ instruction to his disciples in Matthew 10 when he sends them out. He says, “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves.” Jesus is making clear to his disciples in that text that it’s not going to be easy as they go out as followers of Christ proclaiming Christ, that they’re going to be like sheep among wolves.
He says, “When you go, be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Be wise in those situations and be innocent and since be blameless. Don’t let them have things against you, your character and who you are and how you’ve lived. This is exactly what’s happening her in Paul. The Jews are trying to make charges against Paul, but they can’t prove anything. Paul is saying in his defense, neither against the law of the Jews or against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense. There’s an innocence here that is so good and right in light of what Jesus had instructed back in Matthew Chapter 10.
We will face challenges as followers of Christ, but may our character be blameless.
I want to encourage us based on this text as I’m encouraged in my own heart, that yes, we will face challenges as followers of Christ proclaiming the gospel of Christ in this world, but may our character in the middle of those challenges be blameless. May the character of Christ be evident in us, the love of Christ, the gentleness of Christ, the wisdom of Christ, the purity of Christ in a way that shines like salt and light in the world, in a Matthew Chapter 5 kind of way. I think that’s what we’re seeing here in Paul, and it’s what I pray for my own life, I pray for our lives. God help us. Help us to be pure and holy. Help us to have holy character.
Help us to reflect your goodness, your love, your gentleness for all the fruit of the spirit, love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and goodness, and faithfulness, and self-control. May these characteristics mark us. May this fruit be evident in our lives, so that even when people react against the message we share in the gospel may our lives be a testimony to your goodness and your grace. Help us, we pray. We know we cannot do this on our own. Please help us to be blameless before others, to live as salt and light in the world around us, so that people in a Matthew 5 kind of way might see our character, our lives and give glory to you and not have a fence to bring against us because of the way we have lived and love and care for people around us in holiness before you. Help us, we pray, to reflect the character of Christ as we share the gospel of Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.