I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
Hope on Trial
The criminal justice system is meant to punish those who do wrong and protect those who do right. When it works properly, it provides peace and order in society. It preserves rights and freedoms.
But it doesn’t always work properly. Personal and political agendas interfere. Corruption conceals evidence and clouds judgment.
That is what was happening in the first century. The apostle Paul, a pastor and missionary, had been arrested. A mob of Jewish patriots wanted him dead. They accused him of opposing traditions and inciting riots.
But what they were really against was not Paul himself but the one he believed in. The one in whom he put his hope. The one whose life and death and resurrection was the heart of the message he proclaimed.
If you are a Christian, you may sometimes feel like you are being put on trial for your faith. The Bible claims truths that the world denies. Christians are ridiculed for believing things that the world calls outdated and out of touch.
But at the heart of it all is Jesus. Jesus was not just a moral teacher. He was the one who perfectly fulfilled God’s perfect moral code. Jesus was not just an innocent victim of a corrupt society. He was the one who willingly suffered death for crimes he didn’t commit. But the most surprising and unbelievable thing that happened to Jesus was that he didn’t stay dead. He came back to life.
As soon as it happened, people denied it. They tried to cover it up. But they couldn’t change the truth. Jesus was alive. His mission was complete. His death accomplished the impossible. It put an end to death once and for all. Those who trust that Jesus died in their place have eternal life, no strings attached. When Jesus comes again, they will rise from the dead to live with him.
It sounds crazy. It sounds foolish. Many in the world will mock those who believe it. But it’s true. Jesus lives! And so will we. And because of that, we have hope. Eternal hope that no trial can take away.
Risen Jesus, when my faith and the truth are on trial before the world, help me to cling to the hope your resurrection gives me. Amen.