Witness for Christ
Pastor Max Lucado
Everything happens for a reason: good things and bad things. Most times we do not understand why God allows certain things to happen to us, “Why was I born in this or that place? Why did my parents send me to this school and not to the other? Why did I have to put up with this teacher, or that school mate?” We certainly do not have the answers at the moment, we have to endure the challenge or difficulty, but at some point in life the reasons are unveiled, and we humbly stand in awe at God’s feet.
In today’s reading, Paul gives testimony of his life after being arrested in Jerusalem. Reading the passage, we tend to hurry past the introduction (where Paul talks about his upbringing) as we are rushing to the Damascus Road encounter with Christ. You will notice that every element of his education worked in concert to create an apostle of high caliber. I have found that usually, the circumstances that lead to “the encounter moments” are the ones that God uses to shape who we are and who we are destined to become.
Paul gives an account that stands as a brief resume–he was raised in Tarsus, an important city and a great port where he must have heard a dozen languages and witnessed a tapestry of cultures. He had the opportunity to sit at the feet of the finest scholars, and he obviously learned Greek (the international language of the world of the time). Besides being a Roman citizen, his parents gave him a Hebrew heart. Paul even called himself a “Hebrew of Hebrews.” This means that he had to memorize large sections of the Torah and rabbinical law.
Could there be a better person to present Jesus as the fulfillment of the law than a scholar of the law? God’s hand behind Paul’s education, vocation, and necessary documentation is a testimony to his amazing power. He was equipping the man even before the man was following Christ.
Have you ever considered how your upbringing has been part of God’s plan? Can you see how God has prepared and positioned you to share your life for him? You are unique, there is no other person in this whole world that can replace you. I pray that your heart and mind will be opened to understand better how God has prepared you for such a time as this.
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