Paul had been a prisoner at Cæsarea for over two years, held by Roman authorities under charges by Jewish leaders that he caused dissension among the Jews through false teaching that encouraged people to disobey the law, and rebel against Jewish leadership. The apostle was also accused of being the leader of the Nazarenes, a religion not authorized by Roman law.
Because Paul requested to be tried before Cæsar in Rome, Festus would be required to write a letter explaining the charges against the prisoner that would accompany the apostle to the Roman capital. However, because he was not familiar with Jewish custom, the emperor could not confidently formulate such a letter.
When he was visited by his brother in law, King Agrippa, Festus sought the king’s wisdom to help him write the letter that would accompany Paul to Rome, where the apostle would be tried according to Roman law.
At the request of the king, Paul was brought forward to speak in his defense. He first outlined how he used to be a Pharisee who persecuted and even killed Christians.
“12 While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.” (Acts 26:12-13)
Paul indicates that while he continued to persecute Christians, he was asked to travel to Damascus to capture Christians, both men and women, and bring them back to Jerusalem to be tortured or killed by the Jews. While on his way to Damascus, Paul describes how a light, brighter than the sun covered everyone in the envoy.
“14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 26:14)
The light was so intimidating, Paul and those with him fell to the ground frightened by the occurrence. Then, Paul heard a voice in his native language whom he assumed was that of the Christ, since the voice asked two questions.
First, the voice asked why Paul, then named “Saul,” was persecuting “me” which obviously originated from a divine being, seated in Heaven. Next, the voice asked if Paul found it hard to kick against the goads, as do oxen when they are pricked with sticks (goads), illustrating that Paul’s persecution of Christians, and Christ Himself was contrary to God’s will.
“15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.” (Acts 26:16-16)
Then Paul confirmed the voice was that of the Lord, Jesus the Christ, who commanded Paul to stand, and informed him that he was chosen to fulfill a mission to be revealed at a later date.
“17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:17-18)
Jesus continued by providing Paul with an outline of his divinely appointed mission, that would include preaching to the Gentiles and sharing the truth about the life, death and resurrection of the Savior. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre