A Ready Witness
Pastor Joe Morales
Have you noticed how somebody’s life can speak volumes compared to somebody’s words? And, have you ever considered how strongly both, your words and life put together, work as a powerful testimony to those around you? Paul’s life was and is a living testimony of the power of words and deeds combined. His life is an active message that invites us to a path of faith. He was able to be a light in the darkness, regardless of the circumstances that surrounded him.
Let us take, for instance, Paul’s response to his false accusers before the Roman governor Felix. Ananias (the High Priest) and the Jewish elders hired a powerful attorney to present false accusations. Paul was described as a trouble maker, an instigator of riots among the Jews, the ringleader of those who followed “The Way”—a term the Jewish leaders used to designate Christ followers, as their salvation came through faith in Christ and not in keeping the Law. They were considered a cult.
After being accused, Paul was given a chance to defend himself. He acknowledged being “a follower of the Way” (verse 14 NIV) and took the opportunity to preach the gospel, explaining that the “Way” is rooted in and fulfills the Jewish faith.
Our reading for today clearly shows that the governor, Felix, heard Paul preaching and teaching several times. But Paul’s message stirred fear in him, and he was not convinced of the truth of the gospel. His love of money (he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe) and desire to maintain favor with the Jewish leaders caused him to keep Paul in prison for two years.
Can you imagine how you would react to an experience such as this? Paul was unjustly held in prison for two years, being harshly and falsely accused by his own people, and remained faithful to his faith in God. He spoke sensibly and was able to defend himself, staying strong amid the darkness. Our experiences are just 10% of the “big picture,” but our responses to these experiences account for 90% of what truly matters.
As you ponder Paul’s experience, consider whether you are making use of opportunities to share the good news and how your reactions to experiences are a testimony that speaks louder than your own words.