"It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today." - Acts 24:21 (NIV)
When the Apostle Paul stood before Felix, the Roman governor of ancient Palestine, he was accused of troublemaking and inciting riots among the Jewish people. In his defense, Paul argues that his beliefs and religious practices are very much in line with his accusers.
Paul claims that he and his accusers worship the same God; he believes in the same Law and follows the same prophets of his accusers and, like his accusers, he has hope for the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked.
But Paul admits that there is something specific about his belief in the resurrection that has generated the charges against him. To be sure, Paul's belief in the resurrection was not limited to the ethereal realms of religious doctrine and precept.
Paul believed that the resurrection was specifically realized in the life of Jesus and that Jesus' resurrection gave Jesus' followers specific power to declare the love and liberation of Jesus' gospel.
Most often, we don't encounter any real resistance in life until we get into the specifics.
No one opposes the concept of peace as long as it's kept within the lofty orbit of noble ideals. But in specific contexts of mounting terrorism, anyone who argues that peace, instead of vengeance, should be the first national priority is bound to face opposition.
Faith is unanimously endorsed in various faith communities, but faith becomes quite problematic when it has to be lived out in specific circumstances of practical impasse.
The devil may indeed be in the details, but so is our deliverance.
God, inspire us today to make specific and critical application of your gospel. Amen.
From UCC's StillSpeaking devotionals.Visit UCC.org