Thursday in the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 26:12-32

Now for the Good News

Paul has rehearsed his former life in Judaism and his blind zeal in persecuting the Church of Jesus Christ.  Now he turns to the Good News of how Jesus saved him.  The last time Paul offered his testimony, it didn’t go well, but that was before the mob in Jerusalem (22:1-23).  Now he is before the Roman governor and the king and his wife, people before whom he may well expect more dignified treatment.  We have heard this story before so we do not need to spend much time with it now.  But I will focus on two things.  The first is that Jesus considers persecution of his Church to be persecution of himself: “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” (Psalm 105:15).  This is graphically illustrated in the New Testament by calling the Church his body of which Christ is the head—which expresses not a metaphor but a spiritual reality (1 Corinthians 12:27; Colossians 1:18).  Second is our Lord’s words to Saul: “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”  A goad was a stick used to prod oxen; when they kicked, the driver would use the goad more vigorously.  The proverb was a reference to Paul’s fighting a losing battle against Christ and his Church, which even the gates of hell cannot stand against, let alone a man filled with blind rage (Matthew 16:18).

That said I would like to turn to the other matters Paul mentioned.  He repeats before the king what he said which so angered the mob—that God was sending him to the Gentiles to testify to the things that Christ Jesus had shown him.  This was all so that the Gentiles might hear the message of salvation and believe.  But listen to the way Paul describes the results of the gospel when it is met with saving faith: “To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”  Let us enumerate these results for ease of understanding: 1) The opening of the eyes; 2) turning from darkness to light; 3) and from the power of Satan to God; 4) receiving forgiveness of sins; 5) and a place among those sanctified by faith in Christ.  In this one sentence, saving faith results in sight (by which is meant understanding of spiritual things and matters of eternity), liberation (from Satan’s power), forgiveness, and sanctification.  And we should mention that Paul adds later that these do deeds in keeping with their repentance.  This was the wonderful message of salvation that Paul preached, scorned by Jews, considered madness by Festus the Gentile, and met with unbelief by royalty.  It’s still just as wonderful today, and sadly still just as rejected.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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