A Zealot Who Saw Light
Lord God, center my life in Your love today. May I be assured of Your presence with me.
Read Acts 22:30-23:11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The most pragmatic of reasons for seeing that Christ is the most dependable of realities is that of changed human lives” (D. Elton Trueblood). Changed lives change lives.
How nervous are you when someone calls you to explain or defend your beliefs? We are called always to give a reason for the hope we have, and that seems to imply that we should give the matter some thought, and expect to speak about it on a regular basis. As we face increasing intellectual and emotional hostility to the Christian faith, so we should be prepared to give reasoned arguments for why it is good and true (1 Pet. 3:14-16 ). On the other hand, Jesus told his disciples to expect persecution, and, in those circumstances, not to prepare a speech, but simply wait for the words to be given to them (Mark 13:11). Did Paul think he was in the first or the second situation here?
He seems to have taken thought. The strategy of speaking in Aramaic (22:2), for one thing, worked to get him an attentive hearing from those who might have expected a defense in the official language of the empire, not that of their hearts. He had told his story before, in different circumstances and for different reasons. Paul was often up against suspicion from both the early Christians he had persecuted as well as the Roman authorities. Telling the story is as much a part of his strategy as any formal, legal or philosophical arguments, all of which he could use.
Indeed, all of these strategies are open to Christians now, but the challenge for today might be to think when as well as how we should tell our personal story. Has it become tired over the years, or is it too full of religious cliché? It could be the most persuasive and unthreatening medium we have.
Are you prepared to explain and defend what you believe? How might you make your story more up to date, as well as persuasive to people you meet regularly?
Lord Jesus, I praise You that my story has intersected with Your story. I praise You for Your love that has saved me and keeps me.