Daily Meditations Published by IT Fellowship of North America & Europe Diocese of Mar Thoma Church
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Vs. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for I have
appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to
the things in which you have seen me[c] and to those in which I will
appear to you.
Acts 26 recounts Paul’s defense before King Herod Agrippa
II. Paul was brought before the Roman governors and Emperor Caesar by the
Jews, because he preached repentance and forgiveness of sins through
Jesus Christ. Finally, his case was appealed before Festus and now King
Agrippa who was especially familiar with Jewish customs and traditions.
Due to the unique nature of Agrippa’s knowledge, Paul mounts a defense
recounting his past experiences with Christ from a Jewish
Firstly, Paul reminds all those in attendance at the court
that he is a Jew by birth. Paul admits he is highly educated in Jewish
customs and was a devout Pharisee, who persecuted Christians with special
ambitions prior to his confrontation with Christ. From his experiences
bringing Christians from synagogues and condemning them to death, Paul
reminds the court that he was like them. However, on his journey to
Damascus, his entire life changed as he met Jesus in the form of a bright
light, blazing brighter than the sun. In his vision, Christ uses a Greek
proverb to tell Paul, who is well educated in Greek ways, that he is only
hurting himself by persecuting Christians. Instead, Jesus invites Paul to
take part in his ministry and serve the needs of the Jews, Gentiles, and
all others in darkness. Paul not only says he has followed this
commission throughout his ministry, but also uses his defense testimony
to call forth anyone in attendance to Christ, including the King himself!
Paul had the confidence and assurance of the Holy Spirit
within him. He knew that God would protect him wherever he went, and
thus, was able to speak boldly against the King and his accusers without
flinching or refuting his faith. This model is especially meaningful to
us, because we often backslide on our faith when faced with the slightest
of problems. Instead of blaming God or turning away from Him, we ought to
grow closer to Him in faith and trust that He will guide us through our
difficulties. Paul leaves us with the message that no matter what
difficulty or persecution we face, God will be there to protect us and
lead us through if we earnestly put our trust in him.
So how can we live like Paul and stand firm through even the
most intimidating of trials? The answer lies within our ability to trust
God and His plan, regardless of how strange His ways may seem. Paul knew
that God would guide his life and ministry no matter the circumstances.
Even in the most frightening moments of his life, Paul was able to stand
brave before his accusers and preach the Gospel as he was told. We can
only find this same courage within ourselves if we follow God’s plans for
our lives. Like Jonah, we often make our own plans to do as we please,
but neglect that God is in control of our lives and that his omnipotence
determines where we will go. Putting our own selfish ambitions and
desires aside, we ought to trust God’s Spirit and allow Him to lead us in
all walks of life.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be
discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”
(Joshua 1:9). Paul knew of this promise, being a scholar of the Jewish
scriptures, and earnestly trusted it. Now it is our turn to live, not on
our own, but as part of God’s body of believers. By living in faith and
hope, we can stand before our accusers and live boldly, courageously, and
wholly within God’s mighty hands.
Oh Lord, help us to live boldly and courageously with
you. Strengthen us to trust your ways and stand firm through our fiercest
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
How can we live fearlessly in a modern society full of
trials and difficulties? How can we put our trust in God even when our
desires don’t go as planned or remain completely unfulfilled?
Christopher Baby, St. John's MTC, NY
Christian Education Forum,
Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church