“So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
– Acts 26:22-23
Like the other apostles, Paul was often in trouble with authorities because of his preaching. Jewish authorities didn’t like the apostles preaching that Israel’s Messiah had been rejected by Jewish authorities (Paul himself had once been just such a Jewish authority.) Roman authorities didn’t like them preaching that there was a king greater than Caesar. Neither Jewish nor Roman authorities liked the apostles preaching that a lawfully crucified man had been raised from the dead. The apostles were respectful of both Jewish and Gentile authority, but could not in good conscience keep their mouths shut about Jesus.
Our meditation today comes from one of Paul’s defenses of his ministry before Jewish and Roman authorities. Speaking before a Jewish king and Roman governor, he subtly invokes the authority of God (“having obtained help from God”). Then he states a point I’ve been making the last few days in these daily devotions: that Christ’s (Messiah’s) biography was in a sense written long before He was born (“stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place”).
God had been speaking through His prophets for centuries, describing in various ways how He was going to redeem creation from the sin that had infected the human race ever since Adam and Eve opened the door to it. God’s plan was to use a human being who would be born into the world like any other – except for the virgin conception. The prophets also predicted the sufferings of this special human being as well as the glories that would begin with a resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. Among the hundreds of prophecies were many details about His life, such that no one but Jesus of Nazareth could ever qualify as fulfillment of them all.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for taking pains to document the story of Your life on earth among us long before You ever came. We know You did this so that our faith in You could be very strong….(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)