Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son
Acts 22:17-23:10 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
“It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, 18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. 20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing nearby and approving, and watching over the cloaks of those who were killing him.’ 21 And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a man from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that he be brought into the barracks, saying that he was to be interrogated by flogging so that he would find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they stretched him out with straps, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman.” 27 The commander came and said to Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship for a large sum of money.” And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.” 29 Therefore, those who were about to interrogate him immediately backed away from him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.
30 Now on the next day, wanting to know for certain why Paul had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and he brought Paul down and placed him before them.
23 Now looking intently at the Council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with an entirely good conscience before God up to this day.” 2 But the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law, order me to be struck?” 4 But those present said, “Are you insulting God’s high priest?” 5 And Paul said, “I was not aware, brothers, that he is high priest; for it is written: ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 But Paul, perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, began crying out in the Council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” 7 When he said this, a dissension occurred between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 And a great uproar occurred; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and started arguing heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 And when a great dissension occurred, the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, and he ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.
Romans 8:28-30 says: We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. In John 17:1-5 before Jesus was arrested and crucified, He prayed saying: “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You, just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth by accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do. And now You, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed.” Jesus was glorified through the cross and the resurrection. To be glorified in heaven might not always look glorious on earth. If we are conformed to the image of Christ and glorified in Him, it may not always look glorious on earth.
In today’s text it says: They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a man from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!” And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, the commander ordered that he be brought into the barracks, saying that he was to be interrogated by flogging so that he would find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. In the same way that they were opposed to Paul, we see that today there are also those who raise their voices and cause commotion against what is good. On earth the plight of those who are right might not always seem glorious. In John 15:18-25 Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they followed My word, they will follow yours also. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. The one who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But this has happened so that the word that is written in their Law will be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me for no reason.’” Being conformed to the image of Christ, Paul was hated and persecuted for the cause of Christ. In the same way, if we are conformed to Christ’s image, we can expect that to be glorified in Him, might mean that we are hated for His cause. In John 3:19-21 Jesus says: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.”
We are not though to return the world’s hatred in kind, but rather with kindness. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus says: “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He Himself gave us the example of this when on the cross, He said: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) In Romans 12:14;17-18;21 Paul says: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. In John 8:12 Jesus says: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” If we are conformed to the image of Christ, then we will walk in His light. We overcome evil and darkness by doing what He says in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Many will hate the light, but some will see the glory of Christ and so glorify our Father in heaven.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom
Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.