Close Encounters With Conversion!
Scripture reading for November 16th: Acts 24-26
Are you focused on your mission of taking Jesus Christ with you today wherever you go? Are you ready to share your testimony and share the Gospel? Today’s reading causes us to stand up straighter and proclaim our testimony more vigorously! We are to bring close encounters with Jesus to a lost world!
The Apostle Paul visited Jerusalem and ended up in jail as he had been warned prophetically. (Acts 21:10-14) Nothing takes God by surprise and He prepares His people for the troubles ahead. Angry Jews falsely accused Paul and he was put in jail in Caesarea under the Roman governor Felix. Jews from Jerusalem came there to present their case against Paul with a lawyer named Tertullus. The charges that they made had no proof and Paul, with the help of the Holy Spirit, spoke convincingly. Felix was well acquainted with those of the “Way”. Later, he and his wife asked to have Paul brought before him for a private audience. Paul preached the Gospel and sought to convince Felix that Jesus was the “Way” for him as well. (Acts 24:24-26) Scripture records that Felix became afraid and cut Paul off. His real motive was a bribe! Money blinded Felix and his wife from finding the true treasure of eternal life in Jesus Christ!
Two years passed and a new governor, Porcius Festus, was appointed. The Jews came before him to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem for trial. They planned to kill him as he was being transferred. (Acts 25:3) Again, Paul speaks by the Holy Spirit and appeals to Caesar. He is granted his request! (Acts 25:10-12)
Royal visitors, King Herod Agrippa and his wife Bernice, arrived to pay respects to Porcius Festus. They stayed a few days and Festus told Agrippa about Paul’s case that he had inherited from Felix. Agrippa asked to hear from Paul. The leading men of the city, high-ranking officers, and King Agrippa and his wife held a meeting and had Paul brought in chained as a prisoner. Paul was invited to speak to the King in front of all these! Paul again shared his testimony of his encounter with Jesus! He passionately appealed to the King, preaching Jesus as the Christ! The King listened carefully, but in the end stopped the discussion with a question to Paul: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28) Paul’s reply was that he wanted all present to become Christians, no matter how long it took!
What a heart to share the Gospel! What patience and courage Paul presented before those with authority! He did not bribe or seek to escape but continued his appointed mission of reaching the Gentiles! May we keep our focus this day on bringing people close encounters with Jesus!