Acts 21:1-22:29, Psalm 37
Luke is meticulous in demonstrating the parallels between the ministry of Jesus and that of the early apostles. One common experience shared by Jesus and all the apostles is mistreatment. In particular, both Paul and Jesus were slandered in similar ways. If you recall Jesus was accused of threatening to destroy the temple, when in fact Jesus simply claimed that if the temple was destroyed He could rebuild it. Even then Jesus was primarily referring to His own death and subsequent resurrection. In today’s reading, Paul is accused of welcoming un unclean foreigner named Trophimus into the temple, even though the accusers had only seen Paul with this man outside of the temple (Acts 21:28-29). So they accused Paul of defiling the holy temple. However, Paul certainly would have been careful, for numerous reasons, to show due regard for temple customs. The truth did not matter to the some Jewish leaders and their following when they had a man they wished to punish. As readers who are trying to find our place in the story Acts is telling, that is, trying to learn how to apply these Biblical stories 2,000 years later, we need to realize that holding fast to the Truth will not always be met with equity and justice. In staying true to Jesus you might be accused of believing things you don’t, and saying things you have never said. Why do I point this out? As they say, “knowing is half the battle”. My goal in this devotional is to remind you that in proclaiming Jesus we need to be ready for opposition, even unfair opposition; unfair in how we are represented and in how we are treated. Don’t be surprised when your positions are misrepresented or your character misunderstood. For in the same way we have treated our Lord. Take heart and know as you suffer, Jesus is there with us in the fray.