Unstoppable! 'Persecutor of the Way' — Acts 22:4-5

Saturday, October 17, 2020

[Paul continued the defense of his ministry before the hostile mob in Jerusalem, saying:] "And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. The high priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing me to bring the followers of the Way from there to Jerusalem, in chains, to be punished."

— Acts 22:4-5 NLT

Key Thought

Paul never forgot God's grace that saved him from continuing to be a persecutor of Jesus and his people.* Paul's past gave legitimacy to his claim that Jesus was the Messiah promised by God to the people of Israel. Paul was a rabbi, well trained in the Holy Scriptures. He had opposed the message of Jesus until Jesus had revealed himself. The problem Paul now faced was the hostile crowd that had been falsely told he had desecrated the Temple by bringing a Gentile into the places only faithful Jewish adherents were allowed to go. This was a false accusation, yet it was the problem he faced. Unfortunately, the anger and false information combined to give Paul a profoundly unreceptive audience when he mentioned Gentiles (Acts 22:21-22). However, God used this all to accomplish his mission for Paul in Rome and beyond. When we love God and follow his call for us, Satan and hostile people cannot derail God's plans for us (Romans 8:28-29)!

* Our Related Scripture Readings provide biblical support for today's explanation of Paul's ministry.

Today's Prayer

Gracious Father, many of us regret things in our past that we wish were not part of our story. However, dear Father, we believe that you weave all these past blunders, rebellions, mistakes, sins, wounds, and abuses into our story of your grace. Each of us who prays this prayer today asks that you use us and the bad as well as the good in our stories to bring you glory and bring others to Jesus. We pray in his most holy name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Acts 22:3; 1 Corinthians 15:9-11
  • Acts 17:1-4, 18:5-6, 26:19-23

Illustration

Illustration of Acts 22:4-5 NLT — [Paul continued the defense of his ministry before the hostile mob in Jerusalem, saying:] "And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. The high priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing me to bring the followers of the Way from there to Jerusalem, in chains, to be punished."

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About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.