About-turn

OPENING PRAYER

Lord of Heaven, thank You that You bowed low to rescue us and bring us home to Yourself.

 

Read: ACTS 26:1B-18

[1] Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: [2] “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, [3] and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently. [4] “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. [5] They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. [6] And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. [7]This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. [8] Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? [9] “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. [10] And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. [11] Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities. [12] “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. [13] About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. [14] 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.’ [15] “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. [16] ‘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. [17] I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them [18] 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.’ 

 

Reflect: WHAT ARE KEY ELEMENTS OF PAUL’S CONVERSION?

his former antipathy to Christ with the experience of the dramatic meeting on the road to Damascus. From being someone who actively destroyed Jesus’ followers, Paul is commissioned by Jesus himself to help others become followers. Both these ways of life show Paul to be a person of great passion; persistent in persecution of Christians (Acts 9:1,2), he becomes equally persistent in getting God’s message out, and as a result, encounters much opposition himself. Paul’s conversion experience shows an immediate turnaround. One way of life is exchanged straightaway for another; his allegiance to Christ is instant. Not every conversion is like this, of course. It can equally be a long drawn-out process, a gradual realization of who Jesus is and what he means. Not everyone is given an immediate task to do, either. But at the heart of every conversion is verse 18–receiving forgiveness of sin and becoming “part of God’s holy people” (CEV).

 

APPLY

Write out your testimony and ask God to give you opportunities to share it. Then take them.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving God, thank You that You desire to write a story of redemption in my life.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union
www.scriptureunion.org