by Andrew Hillard
Before Felix, facing the charge of being a “plague…who stirs up riots” among other things, Paul stands up to “cheerfully” make his defense. To my knowledge, I’ve never been labeled a “plague,” but if I had been, “cheerful” doesn’t strike me as the first word I would choose to describe my defense. Maybe “spirited” or “impassioned” or even “accurately” come to mind before “cheerful.” Yet, falsely accused of inciting riots when all he’d done was preach the gospel, Paul defends himself, and more importantly his faith in Jesus, with joy.
Here’s the question for us. Why was Paul able to face opposition with joy? How did he respond cheerfully when his liberty was on the line? First, he knew the truth. He knew that Felix would find no proof of the crimes of which he was accused. Second, he knew what was ultimately at stake. It wasn’t just the truth about the charges against him. It wasn’t even his freedom. Ultimately, the issue was the resurrection hope that he was proclaiming, and that hope was unwavering. Jesus is risen from the dead, and that is not changing. It is settled, and our hope is secure. So, whatever we face today, we can face it “cheerfully,” and we can move forward with joy because Jesus is alive…today and forever.