April 9, 2013

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews.  Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.”  Acts 26:2-3

Pro se is the legal term for advocating one’s own behalf before a court.  My experience with the legal system has been limited and mostly unpleasant.  I would not ever consider going pro se before a court if I had any other recourse.

Recently, I participated in a mediation process to resolve a dispute between my company and a former client.  The process went exceedingly well.  We agreed to accept less than what we thought that we were due but received more than we dared to hope for.  I think the resolution equally displeased both parties, which probably makes it a good compromise.  The best result was that we stayed out of the courtroom.

However, we were both represented by our legal advisors in the mediation.  My legal team was very instrumental in resolving the complaint and keeping it from getting larger and more expensive.  I am afraid if I had gone pro se that my ignorance of the legal system would have caused a more unsatisfactory result.

I have never faced a court when life has been on the line.  I would be terrified to be pro se when the potential sentence is death.   Yet, that was exactly what Paul had to do in front of the courts in Caesarea.  Paul stood before Porcuis Festus, the Roman Governor, King Agrippa and Bernice, military tribunes, and all the prominent men of the city to make a defense of his actions.

I wonder if Paul had longed for legal representation.  I don’t know if that was even an option or if he had decided to go pro se.  What I do know is that Paul presented a wonderful defense of the gospel:

He told of his life before he came to Christ (vs. 4-11);

He told of his conversion (vs. 12-16);

He spoke about the reality that all men are in darkness and under the power of Satan and must turn to the light and God (vs. 18);

He referred to the scriptures, the prophets and Moses, and how they taught that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he proclaimed light (vs. 23);

He spoke the truth in a rational manner (vs. 25);

He spoke with boldness (vs. 26);

He appealed to all those who heard him to change and become like him – a follower of Christ  (vs. 29);

In many ways, all followers of Christ are advocates.  We are all in a pro se defense of our beliefs in which the goal is not to convince others that we are right but to appeal to them to become like us.  We do not have the option to hire someone to make our own personal appeal.  We must advocate on our own behalf in the court of other people’s opinion because we want them to be like us – children of God.

How much time have you spent on the preparation of your defense?

I can attest to the fact that my company spent a lot of time and money in preparing our case in our recent dispute.  Money was all that swung in the balance in that case.   In the case of the gospel, the eternal lives of those who have not come to Christ are in the balance.

How much time and preparation is that worth?

I wrote a very similar post as this one awhile back, about the need to be prepared to present the good news of Jesus Christ.  GREAT INTENTIONS – March 5 .  Sherry, a fellow blogger at He Hath Said , made the following comment to that post:

I believe those Christians with blogs, no matter the subject, should have a page that introduces their unregenerated readers to Christ Jesus and the reason they need Him as their Lord and Savior. We must look for opportunities to share the Gospel in any godly way possible. But, let there be prayers by all for the raising up of laborers to bring in the harvest as well as the preparing of an unsaved soul by God’s Holy Spirit to receive the salvation upon hearing the Word of God presented.

I heartily agreed with Sherry and promptly did … nothing.

The Apostle Paul and Sherry have encouraged me to do something.  Therefore, I am going to take the next day or two to prepare my defense.  My next post, Lord willing, will be my own personal defense that will find a home on a new page of my website, as Sherry suggested.

Therefore, I beg that you will, at that time, read patiently the appeal of my heart.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for giving me your Spirit.  Thank you for giving us your Spirit to bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God.  Lord, fill me to the brim with your Spirit.  Make me overflow with the goodness that comes only from You.  Help me set my mind on You and the things of your Spirit.  May I glorify and enjoy You in all that I do for all of my days. . . Amen.


  1. […] my last post, I was meditating upon the Apostle Paul going in front of the Roman court and providing his […]

  2. I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, thanks for all the great posts.

  3. Reblogged this on Clay Tablets.

  4. thanks for always making the case for Jesus! … and giving the hope that is within you… you encourage many of us … keep going!

  5. I will do likewise! Looking forward to Ann Marie’s link and we can all rejoice together! mkesling had a good point too… AW Tozer said “Our concern is not to explain but to proclaim” Though we do have an accuser, and Christ is our defender so that is what we proclaim!

    • Kathleen – that is so great. I looking forward to rejoice together as the good news of our Lord is proclaimed.
      God Bless!

      • That was a hard challenge! But so good to really think through. I think it will help when an opportunity presents itself to share Christ with others that I have already thought and wrote it all out. THANKS for encouraging us!

      • Kathleen – I so enjoyed your God glorifying testimony. It warmed my heart to read such a wonderful testimony to our all sustaining Lord. I too felt the difficulty of that challenge. It was not nearly as easy to write as I had thought. My prayer is that all of our words will be used to further God’s kingdom in ways that we may never know.
        God Bless!

  6. Great idea. I’m going to follow suit. I’ll leave a link to mine when it’s done and we can compare notes.

    • Ann Marie – that is wonderful. I look forward to reading your post.

  7. Don’t defend. Tell them and show them. Defending in itself gives the non verbal language you really don’t beleive it yourself.

    • I don’t want to be combatitive but how do you explain Acts 26:2-3? Just curious

    • I chose the word defend from the text of my devotion that morning. Paul was defending himself in front of the court. Therefore, I was playing off of that idea of being prepared when we are accused. There are times when our faith is questioned; that questioning can be adversarial or inquisitive. I think we need to be ready with an explanation of why we believe what we believe. In those circumstances, the telling of our faith is a response to specific questions. I would call that explanation a defense of our faith.
      I think the issue is less about what we call our testimony and more about what we say in our testimony. Our testimonies should be clear and a rational presentation of the gospel and why it is necessary, a personal description of how God has changed our lives, and an appeal for others to follow Christ.
      That was my goal to encourage us all to do.

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