Acts 24:1-9: Lawyer or liar?
“Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: ‘We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly. 5 ‘We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.’ 9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.’ NIV UK
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all legal people are dishonest. If I was, I would be lying. However, it is always shocking to see how a barrister may be hired to say things about a person that are very far removed from the truth. You listen to Tertullus’ speech with horror, saying to yourself, ‘This is not the Paul I know.’
It is clear that God hates injustice. The Old Testament prophetic books burn with His white hot indignation against the abuse of the court system, and the mistreatment of innocents. Yet we should not be surprised when Christians are treated unfairly. Jesus said, ‘’…no servant is greater than his master…’’ (John 16:13). A great travesty of justice lies at the heart of the Christian faith – in fact the greatest in history – and if that’s how our Lord was treated, can we expect to get off lightly?
Yet look at all the good God is still bringing out of that bad thing. So when we sniff the injustice in this story, we know it cannot be the whole story, and we find ourselves anticipating what God will do next.
PRAYER: O Lord, you are a God of justice, and although injustice may sometimes seem to win the day, thank you that ultimately right will triumph over wrong in your Universe. If we ever find ourselves treated unfairly because we are Christians, help us to patiently bear it, and entrust ourselves into your Hands for vindication.