Sunday, December 10, 2023
Then [King Agrippa, the Roman governor Festus], Bernice, and all the others stood and left. As they went out, they talked it over and agreed, "This man hasn't done anything to deserve death or imprisonment."
None of the prominent guests at Agrippa and Festus' hearing with Paul were willing to declare his innocence publicly, but they did declare it off the record: "This man hasn't done anything to deserve death or imprisonment." For Theophilus* — a God-loving Gentile seeker — and others like him, this declaration from the authorities was huge. It was one of multiple indications that Christianity was not a threat to Rome, her power, judiciary, and peace. This declaration from the authorities can be heard alongside Pilate's declaration at Jesus' trial and the centurion's declaration at Jesus' crucifixion: Concerning Jesus, Pilate said, "He is not guilty of any crime" (John 18:38). Then, at the crucifixion, "when the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, 'Surely this man was innocent'" (Luke 23:47). Jesus and his people were pronounced trustworthy and innocent. "The Way" — as Jesus' followers were first called** — should be considered the way to life, peace, and hope.
* See our first set of Related Scripture Readings.
** See our second set of Related Scripture Readings.
Father, I want my life to honor you and your gift of Jesus. I commit to follow the way of Jesus as my way of life. Forgive me for my failings and strengthen my resolve as I pursue the way of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. In his name, I pray. Amen.
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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