Daily Devotional: Thursday 4th June

by William Moody

Acts 21:37–22:21

Paul Speaks to the People

37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language,1 saying:

22:1 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.”

And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language,2 they became even more quiet. And he said:

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel3 according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand4 the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’

Footnotes

[1] 21:40 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic)
[2] 22:2 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic)
[3] 22:3 Or city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated
[4] 22:9 Or hear with understanding

(ESV)

The great courage and love of Paul in sharing the Gospel is seen here (v39-40). Instead of getting into safety he wants to share the Gospel with those who were trying to kill him. Pray for more love and courage for you to share the Gospel today.

As Paul speaks he uses what he has in common with the people in order to relate to them (v3). He shares his testimony beginning with who he was (v3-5) and how he changed (v6-16).

Paul relates his spiritual journey as he wants his hearers to make the same journey. In seeking to do this he was very Christ centred as he knows it is the message of Christ and meeting with Christ that transforms people.

Sharing your testimony, the story of your spiritual journey is a powerful weapon in evangelism. When is the last time you shared how you were saved to so someone? Pray for an opportunity to do this even today.

In sharing your testimony be careful that it is not all about you but about Jesus. The attention has to be on Him and he has to be exalted.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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