“Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I now make before you.”
Acts 22:1 (NRSV)
For a couple of chapters the tension has been building. Paul is determined to return to Jerusalem. It has been prophesied that he will be arrested by the Jewish religious leaders as a traitor if he does. Everyone begs him not to go. Paul refuses to be deterred and now, the prophesy has been fulfilled. He finds himself in the middle of a riot. His people are screaming for his blood.
When the Roman guard arrives to break up the riot and discover who the controversy is all about, they nab Paul and take him into custody. But, Paul isn’t ready to be rescued quite yet. He wants to address the crowd and asks the Roman guards for permission. With the Romans present, the mob is a bit less zealous. Paul has a chance to speak.
He tells them his story.
He could have argued law. He could have shown from scripture the prophecies that pointed to Jesus. He could have defended his actions and refuted the accusations made against him. There were a million directions Paul could have gone with his opportunity to speak, but he simply tells them his story.
Our stories are personal. They are intimate and almost always compelling. Some, like Paul’s, are even quite dramatic. Others don’t tend to argue and refute a personal story unless it is full of lies and hyperbole.
This morning I’m reminded that, when given the opportunity, it’s always a good idea to simply tell your story.