When you speak something that is contrary to an established opinion, an opinion assumed as an unchangeable fact, there will be opposition. When people begin to toss about their favorite proof text of Scripture or their religious lineage to support their opinion and reject yours, the Lord will have to be your defense, not your best argument or your attempt at self-protection.
While Paul was taken as a prisoner to Rome, along the way, he appeared before King Agrippa. As Paul spoke, he shared the words Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus as part of his defense. “Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles” (Acts 26: 16-17).
The message Paul was called to deliver would offend both the religious leaders and the Gentiles. What made Paul’s message so offensive was the intimacy it assumed he had with Jesus – an intimacy that would be revelatory, revealing things that only come through an intimate relationship with God, not by a dead religious exercise or a natural way of relating to the world.
As Paul continued speaking before King Agrippa he said, “I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen” (vs. 22). Paul was bringing prophetic insight from the past to interpret his present day and reveal to people how the future would play out.
In our day, words of prophecy from the past can destabilize our present-day assumptions. Those who bring such words and unpack their interpretation will upset the defenders of those assumptions. Our only defense when these attacks come will not be from an academic pedigree or our years of service but from the testimony of our obedience to Jesus and His word. Any other defense will not be able to stand under the weight of the condemnation, judgment, and rejection that will come when we share an uncomfortable prophetic truth.
Like Paul, someday you may stand alone before your accusers as charges are brought against you. While you are held as a prisoner to the assumptions of others, you will be the freest you will ever be with Jesus at your side as the defender of your obedience.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins