Scripture: Acts 26:1-23
Key verse: (26:1) Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and began to defend himself.”
Reflection: Paul was arrested for proclaiming the gospel and was brought to trial before the Roman King Agrippa. Today’s passage is Paul’s defense speech. I am amazed by how Paul defends himself. He doesn’t attack his accusers. He doesn’t call them names, question their integrity, or demean them with accusations. (Hasn’t Paul listened to the pundits on TV? He isn’t doing this correctly!)
Instead Paul tells his story. He shares his own testimony about who he was and how he was transformed by a gracious encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul explains that he was a faithful Jew who participated in the persecution of the saints. He identifies with his critics who are now among the persecutors. Then Paul shares his conversion story, when he was blinded by a divine light and heard Jesus speak to him. That experience transformed Paul into a new creation, a person who believed and followed Jesus Christ, a missionary of the gospel who shared the good news about Jesus with “both small and great” (v. 22).
What’s your story? Maybe you didn’t have a dramatic conversation experience like Paul did, but you still have a story of how you have known God’s grace to be real and transforming in your life. Will you share your story? When Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his followers that they would be witnesses. I think sometimes we mistake our role to be judges or critics or angry defenders. We, like Paul, are called to be witnesses and to tell our story. Our story will be good news to those who have ears to hear.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for your power at work in my life. Give me ears to hear you and eyes to see you so that I can be a faithful witness to your gracious love. Help me to tell my story. Through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].