The trials in Acts 24-26 force us, if we're to stay true to the story we're reading, to give up the notion that the Christian community can catch the admiring eye of the world if we just live rightly and obediently. We have ample documentation by now to disabuse us of such thinking. God's revelation is rejected far more often than it is accepted, is dismissed by far more people than embrace it, and has been either attacked or ignored by every major culture or civilization in which it has given witness: magnificent Egypt, fierce Assyria, beautiful Babylon, artistic Greece, political Rome, Enlightenment France, Nazi Germany, Renaissance Italy, Marxist Russia, Maoist China, and pursuit-of-happiness America. The community of God's people has survived in all of these cultures and civilizations, but always as a minority, always marginal to the mainstream, never statistically significant.
This gives us pause. If we, as the continuing company of Jesus, have achieved an easy accomodation with our society and culture, how did we manage to pull off what Jesus and his community of followers failed to accomplish? How has it come to pass that after twenty centuries of rejection, we assume that human acclaim is tantamount to divine approval?