Scripture:

Vs 3 … being zealous for God as all of you are this day.
Vs 4 I, (Paul), persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women

Vs 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
Vs 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’

Vs 17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’
Vs 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

Vs 24 … the tribune ordered (Paul) to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging …

Observation:

Paul must defend himself before both the Jewish and the Roman authorities.
Trouble is coming at him from all sides.
Paul’s defense is his honest retelling of his experience with Jesus … his testimony.
Paul was once in their seat. He was the one making the accusations. He was the prosecutor.
Now he was the one bound, and in prison, stripped of his authority and on the verge of being killed.

Application:

There’s a common belief that “coming to Jesus” makes your life “easier” … “better” …   “problem free”.
This would come as a shock to the early followers of Jesus.
In a sense this is true, but there is a huge difference between “better” and “problem free”.
In a much truer sense, coming to Jesus will not eliminate problems from my life, but add them.
(Paul was doing the binding before Jesus, now he’s the one bound.)
But Jesus will make my life better IN my problems.
Jesus can actually complicate my life, not simplify it.
Before Jesus, I could just pursue my own wants, my own desires, my own ambitions.
But now I must fight against this, and this creates conflicts … inner conflict and external conflict.
Internal conflict … flee selfish gain, fruitless pleasure, laziness, etc.
External conflict … people around me will question my ways and reasons for doing things.
When Paul was questioned for his actions, he replied with his simple, truthful testimony of Jesus.
Do I? … Will I? … Are people even questioning the reason I live the way I live?
Does my life look that different from those around me? … Is my life even worth asking questions about?
I think what often prompts a question is how I respond to problems and complications in my life.
Somehow, it’s become tempting as a Christian to act like there are no problems in my life.
“How’s it going?” … “Great!” … Really?
Isn’t an honest testimony of conflict, and problems, and strife a better testimony?
If I act like my life is problem free, then I’m the hero. … “Look at this wonderful life I’ve made for myself!”
But if I have a testimony of contentment, and peace, and joy during my problems …. then Jesus is the hero!

Prayer:

Thank you God for your Word
Thank you for the testimony of Paul
Help me have his truthfulness and boldness in my problems
Help me to share my testimony of you as Lord
In Jesus name
Amen

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