A way of life

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, help me to follow Paul’s example and give myself to the one purpose of advancing Your Gospel.

 

Read: ACTS 26:19-32

[19] “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. [20] First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. [21] That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. [22] But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen- [23] that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” [24] At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” [25] “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. [26] The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. [27] King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” [28]Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” [29] Paul replied, “Short time or long-I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” [30] The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them.[31] After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.” [32] Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” 

 

Reflect: WHAT IS PAUL’S AIM?

Paul now describes his life after his conversion: how he preached repentance and turning to God more and more widely, and he reminds his listeners that what he was preaching had its roots in the Law and the Prophets–the Jewish Scriptures (22,23). The disturbance this creates is dramatic: Festus’s outburst accuses him of madness; but Paul asks Agrippa, as someone with knowledge of and belief in the Jewish Scriptures, to consider the truth and rationality of what he is saying. He also suggests that this is not so much a defense of himself, as an attempt to convert (29); his commission from Christ is evident even in this highly charged situation. Paul’s raison d’être is amplified by what he writes in 1 Corinthians 2:11-16. He sees people from a spiritual perspective; he is compelled by Christ’s love; he is Christ’s ambassador with a message of reconciliation; he seeks to persuade people to turn to Christ. We’re not all called to be like Paul, but all of us can be motivated by the same driving force. Are we?

 

APPLY

Consider how you are being called to carry out the command of Jesus in the great commission.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, You are a good shepherd, leading Your sheep and seeking the lost. Lead me, Lord.

 

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