Captive Audience

Message/Application:  In Acts 22 Paul had been viciously taken by the Jews who fully intended to kill him but now found himself answering to the Romans who just wanted to know why the Jews wanted him so badly. They were about to lift their own hands against Paul when he challenged their right to do so by bringing up his Roman citizenship and stopping them dead in their tracks in fear. These men had purchased their citizenships, but Paul was a natural born Roman citizen and he knew exactly what that meant and so did these men. This obviously got Paul out of a beating, but it opened up something more important. It opened up an opportunity to share his story. As he began speaking to them he related that he had been every bit a part of what the Jews were currently doing to him (and even worse because he was running around as an enforcer) until Jesus stopped him dead in his tracks and “blinded him by the light.” This is the part of the story that stopped me in my own tracks this morning. As Paul described being “blinded by the light” and a voice speaking to him, it specifically says that those who were with him could see the light but they could not hear the voice that was speaking to Paul in that moment. I read and reread that one line over and over again, and I thought about the experiences we are all having in the presence of those who are around us. Those who work with us, serve under or over us, or serve for us, and labor with us. No matter what that may look like there are people walking along side us with a front row view of what is taking place in us. Like those who assisted Paul, they could see the light of what was happening to Paul but they were unable to hear the voice that was speaking to him. They had to assist him to safety in his blinded state and tend to him but they had no idea what kind of words were being exchanged to Paul by Jesus. We know the rest of the story includes God sending Barnabas to come and heal his eyes and minister to Paul but we don’t really hear what happened with Paul’s traveling partners who had been with him to assist him in his dirty work and had witnessed this miraculous encounter that changed the man they knew as Saul into this other man we all love as the Apostle Paul. As I think about this it draws my attention to those who are casually in my life right now watching my process from an outside view. They can clearly see things happening but I pray that what they see will have a lasting encounter marked by God. That what they see happening to me in an open view would point to Jesus as he brings change to my life in front of an audience maybe of just one person. Paul talks about being the worst one -the chief of sinners but that’s not really the point I’m getting to here. My point is that our process has an audience and I pray that those who are impacted by the view would be forever changed. Not because of me, but because of what they see God do to me and through me in my process.

Leave a Reply