Practical Reflections on Acts - Acts 26:13-24

Acts 26:13‑24  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
13. “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.”
Nothing in nature is brighter or more glorious than the noonday sun. But there is a glory infinitely above that the glory of the One who created that sun. When truly in His presence, the most brilliant thing in nature fades to insignificance. “God who spoke that out of darkness light should shine who has shone in our hearts for the shining forth of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:66For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6) JND). We will soon see and be with Him in that glory (John 17:2424Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)), while, for now, faith sees Him “crowned with glory” (Heb. 2:99But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)). May we daily live in the light of that indescribable glory!
14. “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
All fell to the earth, but only Saul (Paul) understood the voice. It called his name, asking him a question which showed that there was One who perfectly knew his heart and conscience and thus forever changed that proud Pharisee’s life. May we every day hear our glorified Lord’s voice as He desires to speak to each an individual, vitally important message. He sees, He knows, He loves, He cares, and He delivers (Ex. 2:23-25; 3:7-1023And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. (Exodus 2:23‑25)
7And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:7‑10)
)! Let us listen!
15. “And I said, Who art Thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”
Any spirit of arrogance that had characterized Saul as an “insolent, overbearing man” (1 Tim. 1:1313Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. (1 Timothy 1:13) JND) disappeared when Saul said, “Lord.” He didn’t know who spoke, but he was well aware of being in the presence of One infinitely his superior. What a shock to learn that the very name he so hated was the One now speaking to him from heaven’s glory. Bowing to the Lordship of Christ is the first step in knowing Him and His will for our lives.
16. “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.”
“Rise, and stand” something that sinners are incapable of doing before God. When He stops a sinner, saves him from destruction, and gives him a ministry (service) to carry out, the Lord also gives the needed ability and strength. We don’t know all the path of service the Lord has marked out for each, but we do know that He will appear day by day to give the needed wisdom for such service.
17. “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee.”
We have a God of deliverance delivering us from a lost eternity, delivering us from a lost life, delivering us from lost victory over the enemy’s attacks. May we always move in confidence that such a God who is for us will be with us in whatever pathway of life and service He determines best to direct us.
18. “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.”
Sight, light, strength, forgiveness and treasure found in Jesus Christ is not such blessing infinitely worthy of being eagerly shared with the lost?
19. “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.”
May we not say that every time we open the precious Word of God we can receive that which answers to a “heavenly vision” a direct communication to our souls from our blessed, glorified Lord? Oh! that we may more eagerly read His precious Word daily, seeking to hear Him speak to our heart!
20. “But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
It’s not enough to say “I repent.” Suitable action must accompany true repentance. The first son, when asked to work in his Father’s vineyard, said, “I will not.” But “afterward he repented, and went” his actions thus confirming the reality of his repentance. The second son said, “I go... and went not” his actions confirming the worthlessness of his words (Matt. 21:28-3028But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. (Matthew 21:28‑30)). Actions born of true repentance come from turning to God.
21. “For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.”
The servant (Paul) finds the same treatment as his blessed Master received: “Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause” (Lam. 3:5252Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. (Lamentations 3:52)). We do not live in a world (or even in a society) marked by “upright judgment.” Man’s heart is by nature incurably wicked and proved itself so when he willingly condemned to death “without cause” the only perfect Man who lived. In the face of such blind hatred of the name of Christ, let us lovingly live faithfully for Him, no matter what the cost.
22. “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.”
Our blessed God is ever ready to help the helpless who cry to Him. When the Syrophoenician woman said, “Lord, help,” God healed her daughter (Matt. 15:2525Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. (Matthew 15:25)). When the grieving father cried out, “Lord... help,” God healed his son (Mark 9:2424And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:24)). He will give each the needed help and strength to carry out His will. “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand.... I will help thee” (Isa. 41:1313For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:13)).
23. “That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”
We have hope and help because our blessed Lord suffered, died and rose victorious over death and the grave. The blind have received sight let us walk in the light and be light bearers to those who sit in the region and shadow of death (Matt. 4:1616The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Matthew 4:16)). “Let your light so shine before men” (Matt. 5:1616Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)).
24. “And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”
When the truth of God is presented, the enemy often seeks to make a loud noise to shut it out of men’s minds. We live in a world of noise music, video, sports, all manner of chaotic activity often used of the enemy to shut out the tender, gentle voice of the Spirit of God (1 Kings 19:1212And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:12) JND). May our living testimony for Christ be loud enough that it can be heard above all the enemy’s noise!
Ed.