In Acts 25:10-12 we can see that Paul is being held and brought to trial. He handles this by saying, “Hey, I have done nothing wrong, and you know it. If you want to try to convict me here and now, and if I am guilty and should die, so be it. But no one has the right to continue to hold me and hand me over to the accusers without first standing trial, especially since when you hand me over they are going to kill me.” So he appeals to Cesar, and Festus and his council decide to go ahead and send him to Cesar.
Image courtesy of: Yannig Van de Wouwer
“If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Cesar!” – Acts 25:11
Paul is wise, and bold. He is a man on a mission. Fighting in court, I am guessing, was not his preferred and fun activity. But Paul turns around his captivity for good, and uses the opportunity to stand before kings and rulers, and eventually to be brought before Cesar. Who else gets council with Cesar? And Paul uses his time whenever he can to talk with people of influence about the resurrection of Jesus. How awesome is that? What the enemy intends for harm, God uses for good. God turns around our suffering and pain for His good. He turns our test into our testimony. He turns our mess into a message. Oh that we too might be given the words to say when we need it the most!
- “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say” – (Matt 10:19)
- “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” – (Luke 12:11-12)
- “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” – (Luke 21:14-15)
- “When they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” – (Mark 13:11)
The promise says we should not be anxious, not that we should be empty-headed. We should be free from fear, not free from truth and faith. John Piper, founder of DesiringGod.org says that,
“‘Teaching us in that very hour what we ought to say’ does not include creating new Scriptures in our heads. The way the Spirit works is by calling to mind the biblical truth we have already treasured in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), and by helping us with clarity and conviction and timing and situational discernment and love. Dozens of intellectual, emotional, verbal, physical, and spiritual factors coalesce into a spontaneous witness to the truth. The Holy Spirit governs them all. Jesus modeled this for us when he was led by the Spirit to give an answer in crisis. When Satan challenged him in the wilderness, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1), and was given the right word for every moment.”
- “let the word of Christ dwell in them richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” – (Colossians 3:16).”
Piper also points out that the words of Christ have already been given to us in the four gospels, are a mountain of treasures. We are to listen to the words of Christ (Mark 9:7), and give them a home in our minds (John 8:37), and treasure them (Colossians 3:16). This is the raw material that the Holy Spirit works with as he teaches us what to say. He inspired the words of Jesus the first time. He loves to use them when the time comes. And that is how it works with us.
- “The word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” – (1 John 2:14)
And if we start to think that the only knowledge the Holy Spirit uses is Bible knowledge, remember Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air. . . . Consider the lilies of the field” (Matthew 6:26–28). Piper says that we should “learn from God’s world as well as from God’s word.”
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today’s Word. Thank you for giving me the peace and understanding and mind to be given the right words, at the right time. Thank you for bringing this to pass in our lives, in our relationships at home, at work, in business meetings, when talking to complete strangers, when we pray, in all cases. We receive these blessings and all of your Promises, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Today’s full reading: Numbers 3,4; Acts 25
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