Things done in a corner are concealed from general knowledge. It seems evident that Luke, the writer of Acts, was with Paul on some of his travels. Chapter 27:1 shows he was with him as he travelled after his appeal to Caesar (verses 1,3,4 etc. “we” experienced this and that). The defense of Paul before King Agrippa and the Roman Governor is given in such detail it is evident it is a personal report. Festus, the Roman Governor, struggles to comprehend what Paul is saying. He decides to report to Caesar the nature of the accusations against him.

Paul declares, “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles” (26:22,23). Festus is confused saying, “Paul, you are out of your mind”. Paul responds, “I am not out of my mind … I am speaking true and rational words … for this has not been done in a corner” (verses 24-26).

The events of nearly 2,000 years ago are powerfully evidenced by history – not just the Bible text – but in Roman history. Alongside this we can put our reading today in Deuteronomy 28. Moses sets out the blessings the nation will have if they truly serve God when they enter the promised land. The first generation did so, as the book of Joshua shows!

But the latter part of Deuteronomy 28 details the curses that would come upon them for turning their back on God, ending with an awesome description which had its ultimate fulfillment in the Holocaust 70 years ago. “The Lord will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. Your life will hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread …” (verses 66,67). Some try to deny the Holocaust but “this has not been done in a corner” What position do we take? There is no neutral position! Jesus said, “whoever denies me before me, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).