Then as now, people can see with their eyes and hear with their ears, but if their heart is not open to the Good News, it’s as if their eyes are closed and their ears are plugged. To be open to the Holy Spirit, your heart has to be open too.
I don’t know why hard times come and I don’t know why we go through hard times! Paul went through many hard times and we certainly are living through difficult times right now. As John Wesley says “The best of it all is, God is with us.”
Acts 25:13-22 (CEB)
How do you solve a problem like Paul? What do you do with a person who does not fit with the status quo or follow established community norms?
Paul understood the implications for resurrection, both for this life and the next. Christ’s victory over death makes resurrection and eternal life possible for all. But, resurrection is both a present and future reality.
We as Christians live our faith in the world. Do we leave it at the church door on Sundays? How are we perceived in our daily lives in our communities? Does our faith show in all we do?
Paul has been moved to Caesarea, the seat of the Roman governor where we hear a familiar theme. The controversy is an intra-Jewish one, not a Roman one. And the local authorities seem puzzled.
Paul is in the crucible. He faces a severe, searching trial and is in prison. So much of this text reminds us of Jesus’ time facing the Romans. As explained by John Dominic Crossan, “Paul wanted to take back the world for God and he wanted all of us to join him”.
As God’s people, we are encouraged, knowing that he will stand beside us in times of trouble. In spite of our failures, God will be pleased when we share the gospel of Jesus in difficult circumstances.
Ever feel like there are too many voices shouting too many different things, too much commotion to discern the truth? Too many half-truths. Too much mis-information. Too many accusations. Too many false-claims. Too many lies. Too much exaggerated reporting. Too many voiced opinions. Too much shouting, and not nearly enough listening. Too much noise.
I wonder if each of us might have our own Jerusalem – a journey we know we need to undertake, a place we know we need to go, a conversation we know we need to have, a past we need to face, a job we need to take, a mission we need to fulfill, discomfort…