How many of you like courtroom shows on tv? I’m assuming quite a lot of you do, as shows like Law and Order and its spinoff series have been airing for many many years. Well – here’s your chance for some Biblical courtroom drama. The beginning of the end of the Book of Acts.
It begins in chapter 23. Paul went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Pentecost. But, just as he had been concerned about, the Jews there are not happy with him.
They arrest him. They plot to have Paul killed during a prisoner transport. Paul’s relative hears about this and tells Paul. Paul tells those in charge. Paul is transferred to a different city before anyone can touch him. Paul goes before the governor Felix.
Paul’s greatest defense “It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today” (24:21).
Paul is thrown in prison and sits there for two years until a new governor Festus arrives. Festus doesn’t know what to do with this. Paul requests to be transferred to Rome and be heard by Caesar himself!
Before this happens, the King – Herod Agrippa (the very last of the Herods, by the way) – comes to town to visit. The King is Jewish by birth and knows of the Old Testament and is also familiar with Christianity by this point in time. He is interested in hearing Paul’s case.
Paul’s greatest defense “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen–that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles” (26:22-23).
King Herod Agrippa eventually finds nothing worthy of the death penalty in Paul and would have let him go free, but because Paul personally appealed to Caesar, that’s where he will go next.
This is the beginning of the end. And Paul’s greatest defense, and the greatest cause of his imprisonment is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
This theme has been consistent and pervasive from the very beginning of the Book of Acts when Peter stood up on the Day of Pentecost and said to the Jews in Jerusalem, “You killed Jesus! God raised him from the dead!”
At the end of the day, this is why we are Christians. Jesus rose from the dead.
At the end of the day, when it all comes down to it – this is why people who don’t believe in Jesus have a problem with Christians. Jesus rose from the dead.
It ALL comes back to this time and time again. Did Jesus rise from the dead or not?
If no, then your faith is in vain. If yes, then everything changes.