Conflict and Courage

Daily Devotional

Reading Time: 2 minutes

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me.... Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear. 2 Timothy 4:16, 17.

When Paul was summoned to appear before the emperor Nero for trial, it was with the near prospect of certain death.... Among the Christians at Rome, there was not one who came forward to stand by him in that trying hour.... Paul before Nero—how striking the contrast! ... The name of Nero made the world tremble. To incur his displeasure was to lose property, liberty, life; and his frown was more to be dreaded than a pestilence.

Without money, without friends, without counsel, the aged prisoner stood before Nero—the countenance of the emperor bearing the shameful record of the passions that raged within; the face of the accused telling of a heart at peace with God.29

How could Nero, a capricious, passionate, licentious tyrant, be expected to understand or appreciate the character and motives of this son of God? ... The results of opposite systems of education stood that day contrasted—a life of unbounded self-indulgence and a life of entire self-sacrifice. Here were the representatives of two theories of life—all-absorbing selfishness, which counts nothing too valuable to be sacrificed for momentary gratification, and self-denying endurance, ready to give up life itself, if need be, for the good of others....

The people and the judges looked at him in surprise. They had been present at many trials, and had looked upon many a criminal; but never had they seen a man wear a look of such holy calmness.... His words struck a chord that vibrated in the hearts even of the most hardened. Truth, clear and convincing, overthrew error.... The words spoken on this occasion were destined to shake nations....

Faithful among the faithless, loyal among the disloyal, he stands as God’s representative, and his voice is as a voice from heaven.... His words are as a shout of victory above the roar of battle.30

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