Summary: The Resurrection proves that there is an Life After Death.
Katie and I had arrived in Oklahoma and were getting about the task of settling in. We were living in a cramped two room apartment and desperately looking for a house to buy, we were looking to purchase our first house ever.
As we looked at houses around town, there always seemed to be some major problem with the houses we were looking at. You know, you arrive at the curb of the next house on the list, the house looks great from the outside, your hopeful, maybe a little excited, “This might be the one. This might be the house that will work for us. This might be good enough to end this search right here.” But, alas, you walk up the stairs, or you turn the corner, or open the kitchen door - and there staring at you, no more than three feet away, are a herd of the neighbors goats.
That really happened by the way. Nice place, great layout, high ceilings, a herd of goats right outside the kitchen...and all the the things that come with goats, wafted into the kitchen.
Well, the house we eventually purchased was a house that was such a disaster that the first time we looked at the house, we didn’t even make it past the first two rooms of the house. The house was build in the 1920’s and was an art deco style house. It had custom molding in every room, inset cupboards, classic light fixtures and so on. But, the previous owner had pulled out most of the classic architecture, and replaced it with the country look. All the work was very poorly done...It just didn’t work in this house.
So that house had sat on the market for about two years, because it was an ugly mess. However, when the owners dropped the price over $20,000 - the house suddenly didn’t look so ugly anymore.
Over the years we renovated the house and the great thing was that I learned house to repair things from plumbing to electrical. So we would do a little here and a little there and eventually got to the kitchen. In the kitchen the previous owner had placed a couple of large sheets of fake paneling in two very odd places in the kitchen. Naive as we were, we could not, for the life of us figure out why someone would place a section of fake paneling sideways, only one third the way up a wall, crooked. It seemed so random, so disjointed, it just didn’t make sense.
One day I had enough of looking at those crazy sheets of paneling and announced, “Katie, today I am going to take that fake paneling down!” I felt so, I don’t know, invigorated that I was finally going to get these crazy things off the wall. I was finally going to rid our house of the crooked fake paneling the didn’t make any sense.
I got my wrecking crowbar and eased it behind the fake paneling and with one quick heave, the first panel popped off the wall…..and there behind the crooked 4x8 sheet of fake paneling was an ever so slightly smaller 4x8 HOLE IN THE WALL! The previous owner had put up the fake paneling to cover this massive hole.
And so, now I did not have to look at a 4x8 piece of crooked fake paneling on the wall when I sat down to eat, instead, I now was able to gaze upon a 4x8 hole in the wall. The crooked fake paneling was only there to hide the huge hole behind it, but at least the hole in the wall wasn’t crooked.
Today in our Scripture Paul calls the high priest of the Sanhedrin a whitewashed wall. Paul calls him this for two reasons: One, In the Jewish court system, it was against the law to strike a Jew before he was proven guilty. A Jew could not be struck until proven guilty. Two: Paul was being put on trial for the very thing Judaism stood for Grace and forgiveness before God, the resurrection of the dead.
You see, the men who accuse Paul of wrong doing were like a whitewashed wall, for on the surface they appeared to be righteous men; To the casual observer, they were pious men of God, but, pull away the fake paneling, and their philosophy, their theology, their faith, was like a gaping hole in the wall.
They either didn’t believe in the resurrection, or though they claimed to believe in the resurrection, when it actually happened, they failed to believe it.
How did Paul arrive at this point, being on trial for his life?
As you remember from last week, Paul had come back to Jerusalem after being on the road for an extended period of time. While Paul was gone a rumor had circulated the city. The rumor claimed that Paul was teaching Jews to ignore the law of Moses. In essence the gossip claimed that Paul was teaching others to ignore the bible.