Acts 26:4 (the apostle Paul said to King Agrippa in his defense) “All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, a life spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 7 a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship day and night. It is for this hope, your Excellency, that I am accused by Jews! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? 9 “Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death. 11 By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.”
Here Paul gives his testimony when his fellow Jews accused him of behavior warranting death. This passage above is only part of Paul’s story. He starts by telling the king how zealous he once was in opposing Christians, but after encountering the risen Jesus he became a Christian believer. And not only a believer, but an apostle proclaiming the gospel of Jesus. It’s an astounding transformation the Lord did in Paul.
Many Christians have a before Jesus/after Jesus story.
Although I was baptized in the church as an infant it wasn’t until I was a young adult that the Lord really got hold of me and put me on a different path. And while I most certainly remain a work in progress, much has changed in me. My values, my vocation, my sense of purpose, my relationships – all very different than before. It’s a privilege when I get an opportunity to share my story with others. It’s not that my story is so great or exceptional, but it is real and (I pray) it gives glory to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What’s your story? What difference has Jesus made in your life? With whom might the Lord be giving you the chance to share your story? Will you trust the Lord enough to tell your story when the opportunity arises? Lord, let it be so. Amen.