Serving Jesus in Our Community

Bible Notes

Acts 22:17-21 (19.06.23)

Acts 22.17-21
“When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’
“‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Go …’”

All three of the accounts of Paul’s conversion in Acts, and the three references to it in Paul’s letters which we noted yesterday, record that he had been a persecutor of the followers of Jesus. In Acts 22.4 he even admits that he had “persecuted the followers of this Way to their death.” And in v.20 he particularly recalls the death of Stephen. Does this incident still weigh heavily on his mind? Is there something in your past or mine, which we regret, which we still feel guilty about, which weighs us down? We cannot undo the past, but it did not stop Paul from serving the Lord boldly, safe in the knowledge that whatever he had done in the past had been dealt with on the cross of Jesus.

Father, forgive me…
Thank you for your forgiveness, which sets us free.

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