Acts 26: 12 – 18 Paul before Agrippa – Part 2

Acts 26: 12 – 18 Paul before Agrippa – Part 2

On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King grippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

‘Then I asked, “Who are you, Lord?”

‘ “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the Lord replied. “Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

*       *       *

This is a very rich passage! Let’s go straight to the heart of it.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the Lord replied. “Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me…”

There is no hint that Paul has any freedom of choice in this. This is the voice of the master to the servant. It’s not a job offer, it’s a command. Whatever happened to free will?

The clue is two sentences earlier.

“I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ ”

Jesus tells Paul that by persecuting followers of the Way, he is ‘kicking against the goads’. In other words, he is hurting himself unnecessarily and perversely. As soon as he hears those words, Paul realises they’re true; his anger against the followers of the Way arises from his own internal conflict. He desperately wants to believe in Jesus, but is prevented by his education and by his obsessive and hyper-conscientious personality.

And if those words are true…?

‘Then I asked, “Who are you, Lord?” ‘

He doesn’t really need to ask; he already knows the answer, and he immediately acknowledges the Lordship of the speaker. And that’s all it takes. He’s been imprisoning, punishing, pursuing, and murdering the followers of Jesus. He meets Jesus, and accepts him as Lord, and he’s forgiven.

HE’S FORGIVEN!

The forgiveness doesn’t cost him anything; it’s free. It’s God’s grace to him.

The forgiveness costs him everything. From this instant onwards he is God’s servant and witness. Every moment of every day. His life is no longer his own; it belongs to Jesus.

And Jesus promises, “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

Jesus, through his ministers like Paul, has opened our eyes and turned us from the darkness of lovelessness to the light of God’s love. Through Jesus we receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Him.

WE’RE FORGIVEN!

ALLELUIA!

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for faithful ministers like Paul who have brought your good news to us. Please help us, in our turn, to serve you faithfully and with joy.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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