A STAGE PRESET
by DeAnna Brooks
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They say history is destined to repeat itself, and though many attempt to argue the case today, doing so myopically is dangerous business. The circumstances surrounding Paul in Acts 24 are a case in point. They serve to lay bare on a pre-set stage the universal flaw in human nature.
Six days prior to the opening of this passage, having kept every element of ceremonial purity, Paul went to the temple to assist and participate in the fulfillment of a Nazirite vow and its accompanying sacrifice. But Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul there, but when they stirred up the crowd against Paul, he was arrested. Six days later, the stage of human nature well set, Paul was brought before Felix for trial.
Tertulllus, a lawyer speaking on behalf of the high priest and others opposed to Paul, skillfully present their case against Paul. As I listen to Tertullus speak to Felix, watch him step with purpose before the governor, I am stirred by the tragic elements of spiritual blindness, reminded how faith permeates every moment of our day, and how inseparable faith and choosing are. It couldn't be more clearly seen than in Tertullus' own words, "By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth ..." (24:8)
Tertullus examined Paul himself, yet he didn’t choose truth.
Truth … seen operating here in Tertullus’ world no differently than it operates in ours … is apparently relative.
It isn't supposed to be! In truth it isn't! But in daily practice, where we choose to place our faith, it clearly is ... and thus the tragedy.
Tertullus wasn't interested in truth... he was interested in swaying the governor to his own (and the Jewish leadership's) way of thinking in order to bring about the judgment they wanted. He chose spiritual blindness, and the fruit of that choice spilled out his mouth and attempted to direct the destiny of an innocent man.
Devastating danger lies in all spiritual blindness. It comes from the same father, the father of all lies ... Satan himself. And though it is birthed within him, spilling forth onto our clay, to walk in it still requires a choice.
No wonder Paul wrote with such passion of the importance of our mind being conformed to the image of Christ ... He who says, rightfully, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Truth is not relative, though we, even as Christians, may live life in a manner that indicates through our choices that deep, deep down we really believe it is ... we really believe that truth is something we can juggle to fit our comfort zone.
But truth is eternal. Immutable. Truth lies in the nature of God Himself. Truth brings life.
I find it highly significant the number of times Jesus prefaced His words with, "I tell you the truth ...." (Verily, verily) He could …because He indeed knew truth. He was truth!
In John 8:32 Jesus holds out a compass, to each heart, "If you hold to My teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!"
Jesus goes on in that passage to say, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Acts 24 provides an arena. An arena for those espousing truth, but not really seeking it, nor interested in it ... for those blinded by their own way. And an arena for one who was transformed by Truth, forever.
Lord, guard me from spiritual blindness, from its bondage, from the poisoning of life that is its companion. Grant me through Your Spirit, wisdom and a discerning heart and a undying hunger for You. Amen!"
© 13 February 2007 by DeAnna Brooks
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"Lord, guard me from spiritual blindness, from its bondage, from the poisoning of life that is its companion. Grant me through Your Spirit, wisdom and a discerning heart and a undying hunger for You. Amen!" Amen! It is as though you've prayed from the very depths of my own heart, Sis.
Yes, there is something so freeing in Truth!
Hello DeAnna. It is good to read an article that is well reasoned and referenced, as this one is. Thank you for an interesting read. Irene Cretchley