by David Thompson
It's interesting that the passage referenced today was discussed in my devotional from Wednesday, November 15. I will try not to repeat the points I made about the Damascus Road and about Paul's conversion, the words spoken by Christ and what happened to Paul in Damascus. Let me encourage you to go back and read Wednesday's post if you missed it.
For today I am going to talk about how Paul went about giving himself credibility with his audiences. That, along with his knowledge that all who heard him didn't get converted. Starting in verse two and going through verse five, Paul (originally called Saul until his conversion) spoke to Palestinian Jews in Aramaic. This was the common language of that group. When he spoke to Roman officials, he spoke Greek. This was their formal language and one that they would speak commonly in their community. Paul also retold the story of how he persecuted the people of the Way and how he was responsible for their imprisonment and even for many of their deaths.
He would also share the fact that he was a Roman citizen when the situation warranted it. Verses six through sixteen recount the Damascus Road experience including his conversion in Damascus.
The Life Application Bible states Paul knew that even after all the introduction and the dramatic conversion story that many would not respond. Often, we read that some in every crowd were unconvinced and wanted to kill Paul.
The LA Bible says that, "We must faithfully and responsibly present the Gospel, and leave the results up to God." Many of us, given an opportunity to present the Gospel, miss the opportunity as we have a lot of rationalizations why we are not prepared. We feel inadequate or if it doesn't go well, we feel rejected. If we look once again at the LA Bible statement, it becomes apparent that many of the rationalizations are about us (about me) and not about God. Our job as stated in 1 Peter 3:15 is to "...always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have." At that point, God takes over. That should be a relief. It is for me.
Dear God, thank you for our example in Paul. He never gave up on telling the Gospel and even when thrown in jail, he was instrumental with You and the Holy Spirit in converting the jailer. Help us be like Paul by giving a ready answer to those that notice something different about us. In Christ's name, Amen.