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Stand Up, Stand Up...

By Willl & Cristy Roleson
Monday, March 29, 2010

Scripture Verses
Acts 22:30-23:11

Acts 22
30The next day, since the commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.

Acts 23
1Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day." 2At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!"

 4Those who were standing near Paul said, "You dare to insult God's high priest?"

 5Paul replied, "Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'[a]"

 6Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." 7When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8(The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)

 9There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. "We find nothing wrong with this man," they said. "What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?" 10The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

 11The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."

While trying to determine my message for this devotion, the words of the classic hymn “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” came to mind.  Although we may not have to “ … stand forth in mighty conflict …” in the combat sense, we, too, have many opportunities to stand up for Jesus.

And, like Paul, we also face conflict from those with ideologies opposed to God’s.  Consider a co-worker who asks you to cover for her tardiness … or, worse yet, his embezzlement or fraud.  How about a friend who claims that Christianity is old-fashioned and has no place in the modern world?  When that happens, do we stand firm, or do we alter our story or skip over a few facts to avoid a conflict?

In the face of the Sanhedrin, Paul stood firm as a follower of Christ, declaring that he had “lived in good conscience before God …”  He did not fear the punishment of the high priest and the Sanhedrin.  His trust was truly in the Lord.
I would hope that we could say the same and be a witness for Christ, no matter what the situation.

I heard someone once say that it is easier to witness in the deserts of Africa or jungles of South America than it is in our own neighborbood.  If you think about it, that does seem all too true.  Are we prepared to witness in any moment God places before us? 

Will we stand firm?

Lord, give us the strength and courage to be your witness in any situation, that we may stand firm and let the world know of Christ’s resurrection and your glorious love.  Amen.