Scripture: Acts 21:37-22:16
Key verse: (39) “. . . please let me speak to the people.”
Reflection: Today’s text is the story of Paul’s encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. It is a story that he tells more than once in the Book of Acts. The first time in Acts 9, Paul talked about how he first met Jesus on the road to Damascus during his murderous rampage against anyone who was a disciple of Christ. Later in Acts 21 and still later in Acts 26 he told the story again. Each of these times he is under arrest and asked to speak and explain why he must preach and teach about Jesus.
There is another feature of this story that we tend to overlook. Paul made a personal confession about how he persecuted the church before he met Jesus. He killed Stephen and had others arrested, as he tried to stamp out the early Christian movement. Saul (that was his original name) was a brutal and zealous man who was feared by every believer. Yet, when he was thrown off his horse and blinded by a bright light from heaven, it was Christians that took care of him. God called on Ananius to reach out to Paul, heal him and bring him into the community. Remarkable! No wonder Paul told his story over and over – it defined his work and ministry. He wanted to convince others of the power and grace of Jesus Christ – two things he had personally experienced through the love and care of the Christian community and the power of God. There is no mistaking his passion.
Every year I tell my faith story to the 8th graders of the church. Every year I wonder if what I say is a compelling enough witness to Jesus Christ who is at the center of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I should share the story more often, especially if it would encourage someone else. What kind of story do you have to tell about your encounter with Jesus? Would you be willing to share it?
Prayer: Gracious God, we give thanks for the Apostle Paul and his ministry that spread the message of hope, reconciliation and justice of Jesus Christ out into the world. Help us to share this hope with others. May we look for how you are at work in our lives and the world as we continue to live out our faith. We pray all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[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].