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).
Today, I am captivated by the words of the Apostle Paul as he recounts his testimony of his conversion to Jesus Christ. His conversion speaks to me as though I was in the audience with King Agrippa and Governor Festus.
Paul says, “as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday […] along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 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.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 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. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 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 26:12-18).’’ Every conversion to Jesus is similar to Paul’s in many respects, that is, we must see Jesus!
Paul goes on to say that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared to both Jews and Gentiles that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance (Acts 26:19-20). He further says, “having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23). His testimony being so powerfully aided by The Holy Spirit, caused Festus to say with a loud voice, “’Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’ But [Paul] said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason […] this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains’ (Acts 26:24-29).
This also my hope for all of you on this Resurrection Sunday!