Acts 26 (Key verse, Acts 26:29)
What kind of chains bind people?
How can these chains be broken?
Getting past your past doesn’t mean you forget about it. Paul hadn’t forgotten about his past. A past filled with murder and abuse. Yet, somehow he got past his past.
Whenever Paul would look at his past he would look through the lens of undeserved grace. He had been blind both physically and spiritually. And it wasn’t until his encounter with Jesus that he could truly see. It’s not about what you have done. It’s about what he can do.
Sunday March 6, 2011 was a day that many people got past their past. That day I spoke about how we serve a God of new beginnings and openly shared (for the first time publicly) my own past sin and failure. At the end of the service I asked people to write down their past and place it in a jar as a symbol of letting go. Literally, the entire auditorium got out of their seats and laid down their past.
As I prayed and looked through those cards I saw that people had been carrying a lot of guilt and shame. It was amazing to see God set them free. One of the cards summarized the hope we have in Jesus.
One thought on “Acts 28 Day Reading Challenge: Day 26”
This is one of my favorite passages of scripture. Excellent testimony, excellent apologetics, excellent view of Hebrew, Greek, and Roman cultures. What I love about God’s word though is that I seem to get something new every time I read the same passage!
This time I was struck by 26:14 – “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Now, I’ve always glazed over this assuming it a figure of speech, but I made a point to look at the Lexicon this time. Scholars think that this would have made no sense to most Hebrews, but it was a Greek/Roman expression about goads (prickers to use for plowing animals). It literally means punching/kicking a sharp tool will do more damage to yourself than to the tool. Specifically what Jesus is saying to Paul is that Paul cannot go on persecuting Christ’s body because Jesus’ will is for Him to do the opposite. That really made me think about how we naturally attempt to go against Christ’s will and it usually ends with us being humbled in a rather humiliating way; we’ll be doing more damage to ourselves to go against Christ.
Another thing I noticed is that Paul was trying to reach out to Agrippa (a Roman knowledgeable in Judaic Law) in a way that was culturally contextual. I would also imagine that a number of Roman citizens were at the hearing, further making sense for the contextualization. We see that Paul’s response in 26:29 shows that his only goal is to share the gospel and be a vessel to win more for the Kingdom. It would appear that Christ’s humbling of Paul did exactly as He intended!
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