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Life Worth Living ~

The apostle Paul has just been arrested (Acts 21:33). This was due to some Jews from Asia inciting a riot against him at the temple in Jerusalem. They misrepresented the presence of some men with Paul as an act of desecrating the temple assuming the men were Gentiles. As the turmoil intensified the Roman guard stationed nearby entered the scene and took Paul out of their midst. Paul asks permission to address the mob and says, "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now" (Acts 22:1). He makes his defense by trying to make it clear that he was not being disrespectful of the temple or Judaism. He was as much a Jew as of any them. But his case is based on the fact that something dramatic and life-changing had taken place in his life’s journey. His intense and overwhelming experience included the sudden shining of a light above the brightness of the noonday sun and his falling blinded to the ground. No doubt with a trembling voice he had asked the question upon which has hinged the temporal and eternal destinies of countless souls, “Who are you, Lord?” He had heard the voice of one who identified Himself as none other than Jesus of Nazareth whose followers Paul had been persecuting. In other words, Paul had had an encounter with the resurrected Son of God. He had been humbled to the extent of having to be led by the hand for the rest of the journey because the blinding light had left him without sight. He was ashamed that he had been wrong about his determination to reject Jesus of Nazareth and persecute His followers. During this encounter on the road to Damascus, Paul had asked another life-changing question—“What shall I do Lord?” (Acts 22:10). The summary of the response was that in the immediate future he was to go on to Damascus. After three days of blindness and fasting, he would be instructed by a providentially appointed disciple who would be used to cure his blindness and baptize him in water. In terms of his long term future he would spend the rest of his life appointed as a missionary to the Gentiles. This had brought him to this moment of standing arrested by the Romans before a crowd of volatile Jews bent on his destruction. No matter what we may be accused of our ultimate and only truly legitimate defense will be that we have had a soul-cleansing, life-changing encounter with Jesus of Nazareth. It will be evident that we are bent on following His instructions now and forever whatever the cost. Not everyone will accept such a defense. That’s not the point. The issue is: are we in a position to make such a defense? Does our worldview reflect a significant change in our mindset? Does our life’s direction and conduct reflect that we have found a Person and a Purpose worth dying for? Paul said, “Hear my defense.” Am I in a position to boldly offer the same examination for my own life? Does my life reflect an indisputable encounter with Jesus, forgiveness of my sins, and a vital determination to follow His instructions at the cost of my life whether living or dying for Him? Eventually Paul would say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Ti 4:7). May God grant us all such a noble exit from this life and a confident entrance into the presence of Jesus of Nazareth in heaven because we were able to “make a defense.”

- Dr. David Grubbs (Doc)

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