Tuesday, May 19: Acts 26- .

I have the picture of Paul standing at Stephen’s martyrdom, but reading verses 9-11 the persecution that he inflicted on Christ-followers was far more extensive than that singular act. I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 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. 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.

Paul by his own admission put many in prison. There is no record of this in Acts. However, it seems that many of these were put to death with Paul casting a vote against them. To accomplish these many acts of violence against the Church, Paul traveled from synagogue to synagogue confronting people of The Way. It is no wonder that Ananias was surprised and reticent to go to Paul after his Damascus Road conversion and pray for him when the Lord told him to do it (Acts 9:13).

Did Paul really change or was this a rouse to get more names for his ‘hit’ list? Does a leopard change his spots?

Yes, when true conversion has occurred!

Paul had inflicted much more pain and hurt on the Church then I ever realized. He would have been the Church’s public enemy #1. Paul was the mean guard in the Louis Zaparini story Unbroken or Cory TenBoom’s account of her days in Nazi concentration camps. Despite his past, when he bowed a knee to Jesus, his sins were forgiven and his life and how he lived, changed.

The change Paul went through is available to everyone who says ‘Yes’ to Jesus and follows Jesus’ voice.

The change need not be as dramatic as Paul’s.   My life is a testimony to this, but it is no less real.

Have you encountered Jesus? If you haven’t you can right now by speaking with Jesus through prayer. Ask Jesus to be the leader of your life and begin following Him by reading His Word, the Bible, and finding a group of Christ-followers you can met with and learn from regularly.

Lord, I pray for everyone who reads this blog, that they will open their life to You as Paul did years ago on the Road to Damascus. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


PS I noticed the way King Agrippa acted after Paul’s speech. It fit with the musings I had yesterday. After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.” Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”  (31-32)


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