Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Isaiah 22:15-25 and Acts 25:1-16.

Acts 25:11 “If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” (NIV)

            When the Apostle Paul boldly made his appeal to Caesar, he was setting in motion a whole process that would have global consequences. It was the right of every Roman citizen who faced serious accusations to have their case heard directly by the Roman Emperor. Paul knew that this was also a risky thing to do because if Caesar rejected his appeal, he would be summarily executed – which is what happened to him, years later.

            Paul’s appeal, however, was not to get him out of a life-threatening situation; it was to give him the opportunity of extending his Gospel mission by taking him to the very heart of the Empire – to Rome itself – where Paul could continue his great task of shaping the Early Church. It was remarkably courageous of him to do this and very effective. His influence is still evident over our faith today; his letters that were written from prison contain great advice for Christians and churches all over the world.

            We will never find ourselves in a situation like that of Paul, however, we are all called to share our Christian faith effectively, boldly, and compassionately no matter who we are, where we live, or what we do. Spreading the Gospel of Christ does not require us to be great preachers or teachers like the Apostle Paul, but does involve using our time, gifts, and resources for the life, work, and mission that Jesus began, Paul extended, and we can continue in our lives. Today is a good time to begin; now is the moment of Christ’s calling in our community.

Point to ponder:  How does my faith influence others? Am I ready to share Christ’s love with my circle and community?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for servants like Paul who pioneered our faith so that one day we would be given the opportunity to accept, love, and serve You as our Savior and King. Be with us today and encourage us to share Your Gospel effectively and compassionately. In your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s lectionary drawings based on Psalm 52. If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.