Acts 28:18 “They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.”

I have never met anyone who likes examinations.

Whether that be an exam regarding a subject of learning or a driving test perhaps we enter into those arenas with nervousness that at that moment we will forget everything we have learned and fail the test.

But then there is the examination like what Paul faced. This was not a test about his learning but about his conduct and outlook. Man scrutinising man. The Romans had been handed a list of accusations of Paul and they were looking deeply at each one. To fail this examination would have meant death by the hand of the Jews. Paul was not guilty he had done nothing wrong.

In the year 2001 I had been taken to an employment tribunal by a member of my staff who was bringing a false charge against me because I had no other option but to remove him from office. The scrutiny I faced was something I had never experienced in my life before. After 9 months of the case continuing the day came when the judgment was passed. It was that I had done nothing wrong and the case was dropped. I remember walking away from the court that day and how my feelings were mixed with relief and thankfulness but a whole lot of relief too.

We know that one day we will be examined by our God. The judgment seat of Christ will be where we give an account for our lives here on earth. How we lived our lives, how we loved others and Him. Whatever happens on that day (and I hope no one is behind me in that queue listening to my examination!) we know that there will be no death as a punishment. We will survive that examination because of the sacrifice of Christ and how much more will we rejoice and be thankful for the shed blood of Jesus on that day!

But we know there is another examination for those who have rejected Christ. Our task on this earth is to make sure we do everything to let people know that they do not need to take this examination. That today they can opt for the examination that guarantees freedom with no death. Amen!


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