Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Sometimes amazing opportunities are dropped into our laps. These opportunities are only from God…or else they would not be amazing. This last weekend I had an amazing opportunity to share Christ again as an unsaved friend called me at 10:30 at night to share with me that she was with a suicidal friend of hers and she used a little scripture book that I gave her to help that friend look to God. We have a time set to have lunch so I can give her the gospel again. To think that God set up this opportunity for me to share Christ is just amazing!
Paul bravely stood in front of the angry Jewish mob and basically gave his testimony. He told him of his pedigree: Jew, born in Tarsus, yet brought up in Jerusalem under Gamaliel (respected by all Jews as he was one of the leaders of the Sanhedrin (group of rabbis) and a Pharisee expert of Jewish law. He explains how he was “zealous for God” by persecuting non-compliant, Jesus Christ believing men and women until he was sent to Damascus. He then tells of his encounter with Jesus Christ and how his life changed dramatically because he “looked up upon Jesus.” He explains that Jesus gave him a new mission: to bring Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
Praise the Lord that Paul was given the charge to bring the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles! In the following verses, we see what an amazing privilege and change this was! God is SO good to us! His grace is free to all! In our day, I think that we often forget about the remarkable opportunities and changes the Lord brought about for Gentiles (everyone who is not a Jew) to be saved. Whether Jew or Gentile, we need to treasure God’s goodness, forbearance and longsuffering knowing that He is leading us to repentance (Romans 2:4) and share that goodness with others. Are you thankful for God’s amazing grace?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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