10 “And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:
“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11 You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, 12 and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” (Acts 24:10–16 (ESV)
When Felix gave the Apostle Paul permission to speak, he did not waste time, or his breath, in flattering the Roman governor. Rather, he immediately made his defense against the Jews’ accusations.
First, Paul asserted that he had only been in Jerusalem for 12 days. Second, he indicated that he had not been disputing with anyone, or stirring up a crowd, during that time. Third, Paul asserted that his Jewish accusers could not prove any of the charges against him. So much for the negative.
Paul then made his assertive defense in the form of a confession. A confession is a personal acknowledgement or declaration of truth. Often, a confession is made when an individual admits their guilt in having committed a crime. Such was not the case with the Apostle’s Paul confession.
Paul stated that he was a worshipper of the One, True God. In addition, as a disciple of Jesus Christ and a member of the Way, he confessed his trust in, commitment to, and dependence upon the Word of God. Finally, he acknowledged his confident expectation in God was centered in the resurrection of the dead: for both the just and the unjust. Paul stated that his conscience was clear in that he had not violated any Jewish, or Roman, law and that he also was obedient to Jesus Christ.
Dr. Simon Kistemaker writes, “Paul blunts the significance of the Jews’ accusation by putting his admission within the context of serving Israel’s God.”
Each believer in Christ faces the possibility of being asked to deny their belief in the Gospel. Ask God to give you holy boldness to confess and live for Christ before the people you encounter each day.
Soli deo Gloria!