In my defense...

Every born-again Christian will experience seasons of testing. Some testing comes in the form of accusations, work place lies, and physical harm. How do we respond? Do we ball up our fists and meet our accusers in the middle of the mat? Do we use our words to defend ourselves and hurl insults back toward our accusers?

The apostle Paul was worshipping the Lord in the temple and the time of the Jewish purification was just about up (1 Cor. 9:20). No doubt, he was taking advantage of Jewish custom to spend intimate time with the Lord in prayer, and in his presence. In the midst of Paul's encounter with the Lord, he was physically grabbed, drug out of the temple, and wild accusations began to be made about him.

Acts 21:27-30 (NLT) 27 ... some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28 yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.” 29 (For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.) 30 The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him.

The Jewish people who had refused to become followers of Jesus and listen to the message of Paul were the ones who began these wild accusations. The accusations were so nutty and ridiculous that when Paul asked permission to speak to the crowd (Acts 21:37), the commander thought Paul to be an Egyptian who had led a revolt with 4,000 assassins!

Although I have not experienced false accusations this extreme, I have had to deal with false accusations, lies and misunderstandings. I believe that this passage of scripture teaches us three important principles for Christians when facing wild accusations, lies, and our own personal "mob-attacks."

  • Paul allowed the mob to "vent" although it nearly cost him his life. Paul was an excellent speaker. He could have interrupted his accusers. He could have raised his voice matching theirs and gone into a shouting match going back and forth with those who accused him of wrongdoing. Instead - he allowed himself to be carried out of the temple while his accusers whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

  • Paul addressed the accusers at the appropriate time. When a "mediator" arrived, he asked permission to speak to the crowd. A true mediator (in this case it was the Commander) had no affiliations or loyalties to Paul or to the crowd. When Paul chose to speak, he used the language of the Jews. By this, he let them know he was civilized and capable of carrying on an intelligent conversation, something a barbarian most likely would not be able to do (if the accusations were true.) Paul was patient and allowed himself to be placed under the authority of somebody who could have easily "shut him down."

  • Paul’s defense was all about Jesus. Why, when given an opportunity to defend himself to his accusers did Paul choose the path of sharing his testimony about how he had become saved and born-again? I believe Paul understood the simple truth that for all Christians facing persecution, Jesus is their defender and defense. Even when false accusations come, we must trust in Jesus, regardless of the cost to ourselves. He is our constant advocate, our divine defense attorney.

Whatever trouble, injustice or calamity you are facing, my prayer is that you would choose a path of humility, grace, and Jesus. You can never go wrong when you stay out of God's way and let Him work.

roc em soc em.jpg
Featured Posts
Recent Posts