Acts 24: Resurrection is Key

Paul is confronted by Felix, the Roman governor in Caesarea.  Is Paul truly the rabble-rouser the Jews make him out to be?  That is a serious charge in peaceful Rome.  In response, Paul confesses the following:

It is true that I do worship the God of my ancestors according to the Way which they call a “sect.”  I believe everything which is written in the law and the prophets, and I hold to the hope in God, for which they also long, that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. (24:14-15)

What strikes me here (and in almost every other public address either Peter or Paul gave in Acts) is that resurrection is so foundational to the belief-system of the apostles.  Key to the gospel is resurrection from the dead.  This is mentioned again later in the chapter at 24:21.

I wonder if resurrection is that fundamental to our ways of thinking and talking today.  I more often hear forgiveness from the guilt of sin mentioned in our gospel language.  That is okay.  Of course, forgiveness is important as well, and it was a part of the gospel sermons in Acts too (c.f., Acts 2:38).  But not as often as resurrection.  If we have downplayed resurrection in favor of forgiveness of guilt from sins, what are we missing?  And why have we made this switch?  What does this reveal about us?

Paul is a wanted man.  Leave him alone in Jerusalem for 15 minutes and he is dead.  He is sitting in a Roman jail under suspicions of disturbing the peace.  Rome deals swiftly and decisively with people who upset the Pax Romana.  In Felix, he is talking to a man who more so wants a bribe than the truth, and Paul has no intentions of paying up.  He is headed to Rome, where Caesar’s word is truth, and Caesar has no reason to preserve Paul’s life.

How can Paul maintain such boldness and calm?  Paul has already told us:

I hold to the hope in God . . . that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. (24:15)

What do you think about this?

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Categories: Acts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Acts 24: Resurrection is Key

  1. Melanie

    It’s easier to explain Paul’s boldness and calm than it is to BE bold and calm. Paul knows what will win in the end. Back in chapter 21, he said to people who were trying to keep him from going to Jerusalem, “You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?”

    Paul could see that. I have trouble seeing that in my own life, though. We sing songs about blessing the Lord in good times and bad, in a plentiful or desert land, in sunshine and darkness. Much easier to sing that to do. I want to see that the way Paul did.

  2. I am reminded today that when Church meets State, things get messy.

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