Unstoppable! 'Paul Sought to Fulfill His Mission' — Acts 26:19-23

Sunday, December 5, 2021

[Paul proclaimed his innocence to King Agrippa by explaining his conversion and call to share the Good News of Jesus with both Jews and Gentiles:] "And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God — and prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen — that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God's light to Jews and Gentiles alike."

— Acts 26:19-23 NLT

Key Thought

Paul's defense focused on the continuity and consistency of his message with his Jewish heritage. King Agrippa was familiar with the Christian movement. Because of Agrippa's Jewish background and understanding,* Paul appealed to the Jewish foundation for Jesus as Messiah. Paul asserted that Jesus is the Messiah anticipated by the Jews and the Savior of all.** God's grace and redemption are for all people, both Jews and Gentiles. God's call of Abraham was not just to bless the descendants of Abraham, but also to bless all peoples through him (Genesis 12:1-3). Paul claimed, "I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen — that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God's light to Jews and Gentiles alike." This claim was consistent with what is taught throughout the New Testament. The Christian message is built on the hope of all humanity given through faith, faith like Abraham had (Galatians 3:6-9). Salvation comes to all people through the promises given to God's people, the Israelites, through Abraham (1 Corinthians 1:24-25; Romans 11:17). As followers of Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, we rejoice in God's plan to redeem all humanity through Abraham and his descendants, especially his descendant Jesus! (Matthew 1:1)

* See the first of our Related Scripture Readings and a previous footnote about King Agrippa.
** See the second set of our Related Scripture Readings.

Today's Prayer

Holy and precious Father, thank you for your plan to redeem all people through Jesus, the Messiah promised in the law and prophets. Thank you for your people, the Israelites, through whom Jesus came. I thank you for the moral heritage you have given us in the Torah, the law that Jesus came to fulfill. Most of all, Father, I thank you for Jesus and your grace that was given to me because of my trust in him as my Lord and Savior. I join with Paul in expressing my praise for your wonderful plan of redemption:

Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
For who can know the LORD's thoughts?
Who knows enough to give him advice?
And who has given him so much
that he needs to pay it back?
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
^

^ Romans 11:33–36

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 26:2-3
  • Acts 2:33-41; Romans 1:16-17

Comments

Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Sunday, December 5, 2021

The classic twice-daily devotional from Charles H. Spurgeon.
"We know of a place in England still existing, where a dole of bread is served to every passerby who chooses to ask for it. Whoever the traveller may....."
A daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
"At this I [John] fell at [the angel's] feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Don't do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters..."
A daily dose of Christian quotes to inspire and encourage.
"You cannot go on being a good egg forever. You must either hatch or rot."
A daily guide from the gospels that challenges readers to live for Jesus.
"Jesus said [to Judas], "My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for." Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men..."

Illustration

Illustration of Acts 26:19-23 NLT — [Paul proclaimed his innocence to King Agrippa by explaining his conversion and call to share the Good News of Jesus with both Jews and Gentiles:] "And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God — and prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen — that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God's light to Jews and Gentiles alike."

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.