Through Paul’s story we see the way God works miraculously and with great power.
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”
25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
As we begin our series in Ephesians you may be wondering why we are doing our first week of Grow Daily on this passage from Acts. This passage describes Paul explaining his situation to King Agrippa. Paul had been travelling for many years taking the gospel to people (the Gentiles) in many different places, one of which was to the people of Ephesus – the Ephesians. He then returned to Jerusalem and many of the Jews weren’t too happy that Paul had been spreading the message of salvation to the Gentiles. This led to Paul being imprisoned and he went before many leaders trying to untangle the truth from the lies. He ended up in Rome and under house arrest. It was during this time that his letter to the Ephesians was most likely written.
There are many thoughts swirling in my mind about this. This history that is contained in the Bible fascinates me and I love seeing how all the events interlink and provide a larger picture of what God is doing. We can’t see God but through recorded history, we can see the way he has worked.
This passage also shows me how powerfully God can work in an individual’s life. Paul was opposed to the work God was doing. You could say his heart was very far away from God. But God miraculously changed Paul. God opened the eyes of his heart so that he could see the truth – and be led into a life filled with hope. He then spent the rest of his life doing essentially the complete opposite to what he had been doing. Instead of persecution, he brought encouragement and held out hope through Jesus.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 1:18-20
We may not all have a crazy story like Paul but these couple of verses remind me that God has done the same for us. God raised Jesus from the dead and through this he has also raised us up and given us life. This is no less amazing and miraculous. Be encouraged that you have been brought out of darkness and into his glorious light. That which is impossible with man is possible with God.
Conclusion: Reflect on how God – through Jesus – has saved you and transformed you into someone who lives for him.
Prayer: Lord, I am beyond thankful for all that you have done throughout time. Thank you for the Bible that shows us how powerfully you have worked in this world since the beginning. I thank you that even though you are sovereign over the whole universe, you are attentive to me and chose to save me. Please work in my life, help me by your Spirit to become more life your son Jesus, to hold out hope to those who do not have it.
A song to listen to Only Jesus – Citizens
Living Church – Creek Road