Acts 26:12-18 (click to view Scripture below)
Our reading today is part of Paul’s defense of his ministry before King Agrippa. This event occurs in Caesarea where Paul has been held prisoner for quite some time. If you go on a trip to the Holy Land you are very likely to have seen the hall, in the ocean front palace, where Paul made this speech. You can almost hear the waves crashing and the clanging of his prison chains as he walks into the presence of the royalty who are both curious and cynical about Paul and his articulate presentation of the Gospel.
Paul tells the story of his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus years earlier. I can only imagine, in this unique setting and with the royalty present, how Paul leaned into a full orbed retelling of the encounter with Jesus that turned his life upside down. He recalls the conversation he has with Jesus and the very words spoken to him, that had guided the life mission of Saul, the religious fanatic, who became Paul the Apostle.
The proclamation of the Gospel is a powerful transaction where eyes are opened, and the prevailing darkness turns to light. So powerful is this encounter that the power of Satan is overcome by the power of God. (v.18) This poignant description motivates Paul for the rest of his life. He lives to proclaim the Gospel to those who have never heard it. The result of this encounter with the Gospel also includes the freedom of receiving forgiveness and a place in the community of people who have been set apart to give visible demonstration of what it means to be a child of God.
Paul’s retelling of the words of Jesus today, still describe the power of the Gospel. It is a proclamation of the story so powerful that a person can literally move from utter darkness into light. A person can be removed from the death grip of Satan, receive forgiveness of sin and be placed into a life empowering relationship with God and all those who lives have also be totally rearranged.
Vice President, ChildHope
Prayer: Lord, thanks for giving me Light where all there existed was darkness. Thanks for setting me free from the death grip of Satan and forgiving my sins.
12 “In this connection I journeyed 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, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘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 rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,17 delivering you from your 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 power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.