“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (Acts 22:6-8 ESV)
Last week, we left Paul bound by two chains to Roman guards as he was carried away from an angry mob of Jews in the Jerusalem temple. Because the hostility of the crowd was so intense, the tribune brought him up the stairs into the barracks for interrogation. Right before Paul enters the barracks, he asks the tribune if he could address the crowd. Permission to speak is granted, the crowd quiets down, and Paul delivers a proclamation. It is this proclamation that we’ll consider this Sunday.
As you read the statement Paul gives, you’ll notice that he basically declares his testimony. This is significant because up to this point, Paul has been seriously misunderstood. He was accused of spurning the Law of Moses and teaching others to do the same. The Roman tribune thought he was an Egyptian rebel. And so Paul uses this opportunity before a watching crowd to boldly proclaim who he really is.
How did Paul muster the courage to tell his story with such confidence? Was it the power of God? Or was it his years of experience? The short answer is, “yes.”
Because Paul’s aim in life was to faithfully know God and serve him, Paul had confidence in the hour of temptation to proclaim the truth with boldness.
And because the Holy Spirit rested on Paul, the Lord gave him power to speak boldly.
Brothers and sisters, persecution is quite foreign to us. However, there are times in our lives wherein we, too, will have a choice to stand up and speak the truth boldly or to cower under the pressure of scorn. If we rely on ourselves, our intellect, or cunning arguments, we are bound to fail; but, if we know who we truly are in Christ, and rely on God’s power, then we can take heart that in these moments of trial, the Lord will empower us with boldness to proclaim the truth, for his glory!