28:18 And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation. 20 For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.” 21 They said to him, “We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.”
2017 will mark 500 years since a humble priest nailed a piece of paper to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany in an attempt to address the multiple errors that had crept into the Christian church over the previous 1500ish years. To be precise he had 95 points he felt were important. He was not attempting to overthrow the church. He was a priest in it. He simply wanted to move the church back to a Bible based, truth based foundation. I am certain he had no idea what that single act would produce. His church did not reform. Instead a war ensued. A power struggle. A turf battle. By that time in history the church was so mixed up in politics and government that all of Europe was turned upside down. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that the Mayflower would never gave set sail for America had Martin Luther left his hammer and sheet of paper at home that day.
Martin was a modern day Paul. He had a message. It was truth. The church didn't want to hear it. They had tried to get rid of Jesus but the grave could not hold him. They murdered the apostle James but the rest carried on with greater passion. They blocked their ears and stoned Stephen when he explained to them that Jesus was indeed their Messiah. Now the "cannons" are aimed at Paul.
Perhaps most illustrative of the craziness is that Paul had a better chance at justice and safety and fairness in the hands of Caesar than in the hands of his own people. The church was more dangerous than the state. We can try and whitewash it any way we want but history has proven over and over that bad religion is the greatest curse of all for it is a direct tool in the hands of the devil.
When Paul arrived in Rome he had no way of knowing what the local Jews knew about his situation or how they felt about Jesus. He could have just laid low. He could have kept silent. Instead he calls for a meeting with the local Jewish leadership.
Back to Martin Luther. I wonder what he would have to say if he were alive today? I wonder what Paul would say?
The Jews had the truth and they threw Him away. Christianity had the Truth and they threw Him away too in exchange for wealth and power. From the ashes of corruption came Protestant Christianity. It was a powerful movement that gave birth to freedom and the separation of church and state. How many understand this now? How many know how we got where we are today? How many would quickly throw it away for the promise of renewed wealth and power?
Track the money and see the corruption. Track those who loved Jesus and see the fruit of their labours. Make no mistake. There is a war going on. It may not be openly apparent right now, especially for those who aren't paying attention. Martin Luther was paying attention and Europe was turned upside down. Wherever Jesus is taken seriously things happen and sadly the greatest resistance to Him is often found among those who claim to represent Him.
See you tomorrow...