SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In Acts 21, we saw that Paul traveled to Jerusalem and a mob formed against him. While Paul was being escorted to the barracks by Roman soldiers, he asked if he could stop and speak to the crowd in his defense.
- Paul speaks to the mob in the hopes that he can connect with them. He accomplishes this in several ways:
- He speaks to them in Aramaic, a language they would understand
- He reminds them that he is just like them, a Jew brought up in Jerusalem, and trained in the law.
- He compliments their zeal for God.
- He reminds them that he also use to persecute Christians.
- Paul continues his story of how Jesus blinded him on the road to Damascus. He shares how God chose him to be a mouthpiece and witness for him. Things were going well until Paul shared that he went to share Jesus with the Gentiles. The Jews hated them so much that they were ready to kill Paul over it.
- In an interesting twist, Paul informs the commander that he is a Roman citizen, and by law cannot be beaten until proven guilty. So the commander releases Paul from prison and puts him on trial before the chief priests and the Sanhedrin, which was essentially the Jewish court system.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Paul saw an opportunity to share Jesus with people and he went for it. He used his personal testimony which is a story of what God has done in a person's life. A person's experience is difficult to argue with and is easy relate to. It can be very powerful and compelling in making other people think.
- Like Paul, when sharing our testimony, we should seek to connect with -- not offend -- the person with whom we are sharing.
- Have you ever told anyone how you came to know Jesus and what God has done in your life? Or, if you're not yet a Christian, have you ever listened to the stories of others to help develop your understanding? Have you thought about what you would say if you had the chance? Think about that, and look for an opportunity this week to actually share it!