Being Faithful in a Hostile World

I really like a good courtroom drama…as long as I’m not the defendant, that is. Michael Connelly, the author of The Lincoln Lawyer is one of my favorite fiction writers. I enjoy all the legal machinations that get described, and especially how the good guys finally see that justice is done. Those are fictional stories though. Real life courtrooms don’t get last minute confessions on the stand like they do in Law and Order. Most frustratingly of all, many times justice doesn’t get served at all, but is actually subverted.

We’ll read about an unjust courtroom scene in our study in Acts this Sunday as we read Acts 23:1-35.

When Paul begins his defense, he says he has a clean conscience. What do you think he means by that?

Why do you suppose the high priest orders him to be struck? Have you ever been hit in the face while trying to explain something? What sort of reaction would that inspire in you? It helps us understand Paul’s reaction if we put ourselves in his place.

Paul’s attitude changes when he hears it’s the high priest he’s talking to? What does he attribute his retraction to? What does that tell us about how we, as Christians, speak concerning those who have civil rule over us?

Jesus appears to Paul again, and encourages him about his testimony. Paul didn’t convince anyone by his testimony…why do you think Jesus validated it nonetheless?

Ultimately, the fanatics of religion break their own laws in order to try and defend their laws against a perceived attack by Paul’s faith. Yet through all of these schemes, Paul ends up going exactly where God intended him to be going all along. What does that tell us about human resistance and God’s plan?

Hope to see you this Sunday!


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