Saturday, December 17, 2016

Do You Have An Answer?

Acts 9
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

Chapter 9 is the story of the famous conversion of Saul of Damascus, to the apostle Paul, missionary to the Gentiles. Saul persecuted the new believers and was there for the stoning of Stephen. But as he was on his way to Damascus to do some rounding up of the Christians, he was blinded by a light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice say, "Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?" This is interesting because it shows that when Christians are persecuted for faith in Jesus, it is Jesus they are persecuting. Or, put another way, when you are persecuted they are persecuting the Jesus in you. Later the apostles will say they counted themselves blessed to suffer for the Name of Jesus.

But as Ananias healed Paul of blindness, Paul begins immediately preaching to those in the synagogue. The same synagogue that he had grown up in. But now he was a new man with a message for his fellow Jews about the man who called him by name and took away his blindness. The people were surprised that this was the same man who was raising havoc in Jerusalem for those who called on Jesus' name. Here is what I think is important about Paul's new found preaching ministry. The content of his message was that Jesus was, "the Son of God", the Messiah that had been told about by the Old Testament prophets.

And the text says he baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. It would have been interesting to see what Paul taught to have this effect on them. We know Paul was very knowledgeable in the Old Testament bible. He was a Pharisee trained under Gamaliel, the greatest Jewish teacher of his time. And God used this teaching and used it for His glory, after Paul was converted. God used Paul's prior knowledge to know prove that Jesus was the Messiah.

While we can't argue someone into the kingdom, it is important for us to have an answer for what we believe. The bible tells us to be ready to give an "answer" for our faith at anytime. The word comes from the word for "apology", which is where we hear the term "apologetics". It doesn't mean we "apologize" for the faith, but give a logical explanation for our faith.

Are you be ready to give an "answer" for what you believe? Hopefully by reading the bible, devotionals like the Daily Bread, and being in a good small group bible study you can be ready at any time! Like anything in life it takes practice and preparation, much like God had prepared Paul to be his messenger to the Gentiles.

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