Acts 28:17-22 (ESV)
After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
It’s curious that the Jews in Rome had heard of this sect but almost nothing about Paul. Remember, Paul was arrested a long time before he even started his journey to Rome.
When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. – Acts 24:27
Nevertheless, they say, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you.” Apparently, the commotion Paul inspired was only local news. Some people knew he had appealed to Caesar, but having lost their chance to ambush him, they may have given up.
But the really amazing thing is that the local leaders of the Jews said, “But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.” That kind of truth-seeking curiosity is impressive. They had heard Christianity bad-mouthed, but instead of just buying into all the negative spin they became curious to hear the other side.
If only people were like that today.
It’d be great if everyone else was truly open-minded like us, right?
Not. We need to remove the log in our own eye to see clearly to remove the speck in someone else’s eye.
This is a tricky task because we obviously cannot see our own biases. How can we learn to notice things we’ve been missing? We don’t even know we missed them. That’s why this is a prayer request and not an exercise. We have to ask the Lord to open our eyes.
That said, there is another mechanism that can help – an accountability relationship. If you have a friend who is willing to call you out when you mess up, your eyes will get opened a lot.
Whether through prayer or through a friend, having your eyes opened is painful.
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