Acts 24: 5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world.”
The Message says, “We’ve found this man time and again disturbing the peace, stirring up riots against Jews all over the world”
The Amplified says, “For we have found this man to be a public menace and one who instigates dissension among all the Jews throughout the world”
A troublemaker, a disturber of peace, a public menace, stirring up riots and instigating dissension, this is the accusation labelled against Paul’s gospel work.
These are the comments from people who are afraid of the power of the gospel.
Tertullus uses a word meaning ‘plague’ that the NIV has translated ‘troublemaker’. Paul carries a plague and is infecting people all over the world. What is that plague? The gospel of Jesus Christ! The reason for this approach is two-fold: 1) It was true to some degree as we have seen in the effects from Paul’s preaching in Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Thessalonica, Berea and Corinth and 2) It appeals to Felix’s desire of keeping peace within its empire.
Why are the gospel messengers being persecuted in many parts of the world? It is because they are speaking the gospel and the gospel disturbs. It disturbs culture, tradition, the way of life and even laws of the land. There is no soft gospel. There is no gospel that accommodates. The gospel is the message of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. It demands change. It demands our all. It will change everything.
St. Augustine knew what the gospel could do. He had lived a wicked life before he became a Christian. Somewhat later one of the women who had been involved with him in his youthful sins spotted him on the city streets. She called, “Augustine, Augustine, it is I.” Augustine began to run way from her, and as she followed him he finally looked back over his shoulder and said, “But it is not I.” He was not the man he had been, the man she had known. The gospel had changed him. It changes all of us if we give it a chance in our lives. There will always be people who will oppose that change.
So what are you carrying? A soft gospel? Or a gospel that disturbs? The good news is that sin can be defeated in a person’s life and they can be reunited to God through Jesus. Any other gospel that has sin removed or that doesn’t demand the Lordship of Jesus isn’t good news at all.
So today let us join forces with gospel-carriers all around the world who are disturbing the religious and non-religious but who are bringing joy, love, peace to many people. Let this year be a year of disturbance. Let us be a menace to Satan. Let us cause trouble in hell and on earth for those who want to walk away from Jesus. Let the good news resound!