Monday, September 08, 2008
Acts 22:3-5 "I am a Jew," he said, "born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, but educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, at whose feet I learned to follow our Jewish laws and customs very carefully. I became very anxious to honor God in everything I did, just as you have tried to do today. 4 And I persecuted the Christians, hounding them to death, binding and delivering both men and women to prison. 5 The High Priest or any member of the Council can testify that this is so. For I asked them for letters to the Jewish leaders in Damascus, with instructions to let me bring any Christians I found to Jerusalem in chains to be punished.
Acts 22:12-16 There a man named Ananias, as godly a man as you could find for obeying the law and well thought of by all the Jews of Damascus, 13 came to me, and standing beside me said, 'Brother Paul, receive your sight!' And that very hour I could see him!
14 "Then he told me, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Messiah and hear him speak. 15 You are to take his message everywhere, telling what you have seen and heard. 16 And now, why delay? Go and be baptized and be cleansed from your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'
Acts 24:14-16 "But one thing I do confess, that I believe in the way of salvation, which they refer to as a sect; I follow that system of serving the God of our ancestors. I firmly believe in the Jewish law and everything written in the books of prophecy; 15 and I believe, just as these men do, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the ungodly. 16 Because of this, I try with all my strength to always maintain a clear conscience before God and man.
Acts 26:30-31 Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others stood and left. 31 As they talked it over afterwards they agreed, "This man hasn't done anything worthy of death or imprisonment."
There are many devout people today, earnest and very sincere in what they believe. Just like them Paul was as well, first he was devout for the old way, the way that did not follow Christ. He was very zealous to protect the Law and the Prophets without truly understanding what they said about Christ.
Just like Paul, Ananias was very devoted to the old way but as we see in his response to Paul, he had accepted the good news and had become a follower of Jesus and now he is asking Paul to do the same.
The Jews bringing Paul to trial were just as sincere (22:3), but they were sincerely wrong and had missed the Messiah.
I need to have a stubborn determination to share the good news about what Christ has done; in the face of many different belief systems that exist today; I need to share the truth with as much enthusiasm as Paul had.
Make me as bold as Paul in taking a stand