Pauls Conversion9“I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.a 10Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believersb there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus.c I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.

12“One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. 13About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. 14We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,d ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.e

15“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.

“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. 17And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

19“And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. 20I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. 21Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. 22But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.”

24Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!”

25But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. 26And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner! 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do—”

28Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”f

29Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”

30Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others stood and left. 31As they went out, they talked it over and agreed, “This man hasn’t done anything to deserve death or imprisonment.”

Paul tells his conversion story again.  He is fighting for his life and freedom, and he still goes back to how Jesus changed him.  He goes back to preaching the Good News.

Do you have a conversion story?  What is it?  Do you tell people about that moment?  Do you tell people about how Jesus has changed you?  I know I don’t tell people near enough.  I am afraid that I am a “silent Christian” sometimes…perhaps most times.  

I am sorry Lord for not telling about you to everyone who will listen.  Embolden me Lord.  Help me to write out my story so I know exactly what to say when you give me the chance.   .

32And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.”