#carmelprays – Acts 26:1-32
Opening Song: His Mercy Is More
Read Scripture: Acts 26:1-32
In this passage, the hearing with King Agrippa begins proper. Paul uses this opportunity to explain the motivation for his ministry. In his opening, Paul establishes that he has been a Jew his whole life. Specifically, he was a pious Jew. When he was Saul, he was a Pharisee. Saul was a man deeply devoted to the Jewish religion (v5). Further, Saul was a persecutor of Christians. Saul was responsible for the imprisonment and death of many of the Lord’s people (v10). He was a man obsessed with persecuting Christians and even hunted them down in foreign cities (v11).
On the road to Damascus, Saul was marching forth to further his persecution of Christians. However, his life was radically changed from then on. Saul literally met the risen Christ, who asked him to get up and appointed him as a servant and a witness (v15). Christ charged him with the mission of turning the people from their evil ways so that they might receive salvation in Christ Jesus alone (v18). It is because of this that Saul became Paul.
Paul states that the reason he is before King Agrippa is simply because he was obedient to God (v19-23). He pursued the mission Christ gave him and spoke the truth of the gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike. Notably, Paul highlights that in all these things, God has helped him. He acknowledges that God is his strength and that he is sustained in ministry to this day only through Christ.
Festus interrupts and accuses Paul of going insane. In response, Paul respectfully disagrees and appeals to King Agrippa for a decision. After some deliberation, King Agrippa concludes that Paul has not done anything that deserves imprisonment or death.
There are two points of reflection that arise from this account. First, do we recognise that God is our Sustainer? Paul saw that from the day he became a Christian, down to this very day, God had sustained him. Do you worship God for sustaining you, especially in these difficult days? We must see that we are small and pray that God sustain us daily because only He has the power.
Second, has meeting Jesus made a difference to your life? It is very easy to live like the world in a time of COVID-19. When we do not have the eyes of other Christians on us, we can easily slip into sin. Saul’s life was forever changed when he met Jesus. His priorities, beliefs and missions were transformed. Are you living differently now? Christ calls us all to be like Paul. Jesus invites us to throw away our old identities and to embrace our identities in Jesus. Let us pray that we go forth as changed people with Christ as our one true purpose in this life.
Pray in Response
Loving Father, thank You for sustaining me. I confess that I struggle daily, and I am only able to live life because You sustain me. Thank You for loving me and guiding me. Teach me to worship You for sustaining me. Help me to see how glorious and powerful You are. Show me daily that everything in this world pales in comparison to You.
Father I also pray that You change my life. Help me move from living like Saul to living like Paul. Help me to cast aside the sin in my life. Help me to abandon the ways of this world and to embrace the ways of Christ. Teach me to love You more and to devote myself to the study of the Bible. Shape me and make me more like Christ. Amen.
Response Song: The Potter’s Hand
By Darren Sim