“…I am being judged because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!” (Acts 23:6)
The Jews threatened to kill Paul (22:23). Paul just told his testimony, appealing to the Jews regarding Jesus. The Jews were all ears until Paul mentioned Jesus’ call for him to reach the Gentiles (22:21-22). Paul exclaimed in the Sanhedrin, “I am being judged because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!” We may find three things in this verse: the judgment from the Jews, Paul being all things to all people, and the hope only found in Jesus.
Paul faced judgment from the Jews. Through Jesus, Gentiles are grafted to become part of God’s people as foretold in the Old Testament. These Jews should’ve expected this unity since God already declared in the Old Testament that all nations would be blessed through Abraham (Gen. 18:18). Instead, they hardened their hearts and rejected the Gospel, which Paul and even God already expected (Acts 22:18; Ps. 118:22).
Despite the Jews’ hardening, Paul became all things to all people to save some of them (1 Cor. 9:19-23). While pleading to the Jews and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, Paul identified himself as an Aramaic-speaking Jew, a Roman citizen by birth (22:27-28), and a Pharisee, hoping he could gain their trust to accept the gospel message of hope by identifying with them.
This hope of the resurrection of the dead through Jesus Christ fueled Paul to endure beatings, false accusations, death threats, and his eventual imprisonment and execution. He knew this hope would not disappoint us (Rom. 5:1-5), that Christ would return, and Paul wanted to share this truth with others. Even though these Jews still rejected Christ as their Messiah, Paul received a calling from Jesus to travel to Rome to share the Good News, to “have courage!” (23:11).
When Jesus calls us to share His Good News, we can expect to be judged by some because the Gospel can be offensive. We ought to appeal to non-believers by attempting to be relatable and seeking out common traits. Find a common interest, shared background, or shared passions with people you meet. Some will reject the message even when we do this, but God alone gives the courage to bear persecution and boldly share His message of hope of eternal life in Christ.