Monday, March 5, 2012
I don’t know why Paul is on my mind – but over the last few days I’ve found his name – and his scriptures – flowing off my fingertips onto the keys. Today’s thoughts begin with his face-to-face meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus:
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:5 KJV)
I read that the phrase “kick against the pricks” is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as: “to argue and fight against people in authority.'” To me, that’s very different from questioning authority. A respectful question to an authority should solicit an answer, just as Paul’s question, “Who art thou,” was meant to find out just who he was talking to. Did you notice Paul added “Lord,” too?
Others asked authority figures questions. When Paul stood before Festus and Agrippa, he asked:
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (Acts 26:8 KJV)
Paul assumed Agrippa, aware of the scriptures of his homeland, certainly had heard of God raising the dead. He would have been taught of the widow of Zarephath, of the oil and bread, as well as the death of her son. She asked Elijah why, he asked the Lord, and the dead was raised:
And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. (1 Kings 17:22-23 KJV)
Paul and Agrippa would have learned in the synagogue of Elisha and the Shunammite woman’s son in 2 Kings 4:8-37. Both almost certainly would have heard of Lazarus, and another:
Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. (Luke 7:12-14 KJV)
And, it still look the appearance of our Lord for Paul to believe. Paul knew all of the scriptures – surely better than Agrippa – but he ignored their prophecies until the Messiah stood before him. Agrippa probably hadn’t studied the scriptures as deeply as Paul as he was destined to rule, but he knew enough to understand Paul’s sermon in Acts 26.
Still, Agrippa remained almost persuaded. There is no record indicating he followed up on Paul’s sermon.
Are we waiting for such manifestations of God’s miraculous abilities before we tell people of how He changed our lives? The majority of those who followed God’s commands did not require such – why do we?