Paul had been imprisoned and dragged before governors and tribunals to defend himself against a rash of trumped up charges from the Jewish leaders of his time. And aside from his imprisonment, a plot had been made to ambush him while on the road to kill him.
When these things failed, the Jewish leaders turned to receipt and flattery in an attempt to sway the magistrate and Roman governor to their side. They attempted to “butter up” the governor by use of flattery to sway him to hand over Paul. But they failed.
In this section of scripture we see how Paul defended himself against the taunts of the leaders of the Jews and hosed down all of their accusations.
Just the Facts
Paul did not bother attempting to destroy the arguments of the Jewish leaders in similar ways that they employed. He did not attempt to sway the heart or mind of the governor with smooth words or flattery.
Instead Paul stated the facts of the matter. He shot down the arguments of his accusers with the words of truth, which they could not dispute nor argue against. And there were sufficient witnesses to what Paul showed that he could have called even amongst the Jewish leaders who could testify to the accuracy of what he had to say, if they so chose.
The Truth Principle
Paul's method of defense is bound up in the principle of truth. No one can argue against what is true for anything else is a lie. The truth can always be proven to be accurate, whereas a lie will always collapse under scrutiny.
And this is exactly what was happening in Paul's defense case. His words could be verified and attested to by many people, including his accusers, but their words could not be verified. The truth will always stand up against scrutiny because it is the truth.
Jesus showed many instances of where he combatted lies and deception by the use of truth. And the ultimate truth is the truth of the gospel that we find in the scriptures.
Consider the example of when Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days, weakened from lack of food and under attack from Satan. How did Jesus overcome the taunts and attacks of the evil one?
Jesus responded with scriptural truth. In every case when the devil attacked him to try and get Him to worship the devil or do some form of evil, Jesus responded by quoting the words of truth from the scripture. Look at the following section of scripture where Jesus was tested by the devil from Matthew 4:1-11.
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “'He will command his angels concerning you,' and “'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Jesus was tempted physically by the hunger he must have suffered after not eating for forty days and nights, He was tempted with greed for the wealth and power of this world and He was tempted to fanaticism to put the father to the test. But in every case Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil through His knowledge of the scripture and by proving to the devil that he was wrong and that Jesus would never succumb to the will of Satan.
The truth and especially the truth of the gospel will stand up to all scrutiny. It is a steadfast anchor by which everything can be measured and judged to be right or wrong.
A Lesson For Us
If Jesus, who is the Son of God used the power of the truth of the scriptures to overcome the attacks of Satan, what does that say to us today? Surely His example is likewise the one we must follow if we are to stand rock solid on the day of temptation.
It is important for us to follow the example Christ set for us. We need to immerse ourselves in scripture and seek the understanding that Jesus will give us when we ask for it so that when trouble or temptation arises, we too have the answers to overcome.
Note also in the section of scripture from Matthew 4 above that the devil also twisted and quoted scripture to Jesus in his attempt to make The Lord do the wrong thing. The same will happen to us for there will be the servants of Satan do the very same thing. Some will come too us and twist scripture for their own purposes. They will seek to gain an advantage and twist scripture to justify their ends.
That is also why it is important to not just know the words but to seek understanding and insight into the words of the scriptures. When we are led by the Holy Spirit we can and will find the truth of the gospel. When we do not understand something in the scripture, we must pray and ask The Lord for guidance and wisdom and be faithful knowing that it His desire for us to know the truth.
Jesus does not want us to be ignorant but instead wants us to be complete and mature in the gospel. And that cannot occur if we do not understand the scripture.
The gospel is not difficult to understand, nor is it mysterious and only able to be understood by theologians and academics. If that were so only those who went to university would even have the chance to be saved because not everybody is academically inclined.
But Jesus came to offer salvation to ALL mankind regardless of their knowledge, intellect, skills or abilities. And as He said Himself, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
It is important to understand the truth of the gospel so we can stand in Jesus Christ. When we do not understand or if something does not seem right in the bible, it is not the bible at fault but our lack of understanding that is the problem. Everything in the bible holds together. There is no contradiction, no error and no deviation from the truth in the bible. Whenever it seems there may be any of these things it is our insight that is lacking, and it is then that we must go to The Lord in prayer and seek diligently to find the truth of the matter.
(Image sourced from stock.xchng provided by Stephen Stacey)
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