In The Word
Read: Acts 26:1-18
Paul’s Defense before Agrippa
26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense:
2 “In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today;3 especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among theJews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; 5 since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. 6 And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; 7 the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. 8 Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?
9 “So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.
12 “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The apostle Paul was not always an evangelist for Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul testified to King Agrippa that he was actually an enemy of Jesus Christ and His church. It was Paul who voted to have Christians killed. It was Paul who tortured believers, trying to make them denounce their faith. Paul relentlessly chased them to the end of the known world. It was also Paul, the now great missionary, who once hated the church of Jesus Christ. All of this came from his own mouth. Paul had a deep grasp of who he was, but he also understood who he became.
In spite of this terrible résumé, God had a better plan. Who Paul was and who he became all pivoted around one encounter with Jesus Christ. It was not Paul who changed his life, but Jesus. Without this encounter, he would have been lost in the obscurity of history. But Jesus changed everything!
Dear friend, it is Jesus that changes our future. It is Jesus Christ who takes the most passionate enemy and makes them the most passionate followers. No matter who you are or what you have done, Jesus can change everything. He is the difference Maker. Stop believing the enemy’s lie that you have gone too far or that you have done too much wrong. Jesus is ready to meet you on the road that you are on right now and change your life! Who you are has no bearing on who you can be; Jesus changes everything.