Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds. Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Psalm 71:17-18 (NIV)
Read: Acts 22:1-21
Consider: When Paul (Acts 22) stood before the crowd in Jerusalem to make his defence against their accusations he spoke clearly of his experiences:
- his early upbringing in Judaism – as a Pharisee and pupil of Gamaliel;
- his persecution of the early followers of Jesus – no one had been more zealous in seeking to wipe out Jesus’ followers;
- his meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus and his conversion – the details of his conversion were dramatic;
- his having a direct message from Jesus while in Jerusalem – he wasn’t acting on his own initiative, but as a result of instructions from the Lord.
Interestingly it was not for any of these things that the crowd wanted to kill him. Only when Paul informed them that he had been told to share the good news with the Gentiles did they try to kill him. What was so bad about this that the Jews wanted his death? It is clear that the Jews who opposed Paul believed that any good news should only be shared with their fellow Jews. After all, they were the chosen people. At least that’s how they interpreted Scripture and chose to ignore references to God speaking to the Gentile world (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6). Their view was that religious observance of the law took precedence over everything else, so preaching to Gentiles who didn’t follow the law would be tantamount to sacrilege. These particular Jews just weren’t willing to believe that the good news of the gospel was for everyone. Paul had all the right Jewish credentials, yet because he was led by God to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles he came into direct conflict with the religious establishment.
While we as individuals might not have a call like Paul’s to go to another country or nation to proclaim the gospel, we are, however, called to share the good news. I particularly like the verses above from Psalm 71, as they speak of wanting to share the good news with the next generation. So even if you aren’t called abroad, you are called at home. For many they will have the privilege of sharing the good news with children and grandchildren; an awesome responsibility. If you don’t have children yourself, you can still share Christ by being a godly example in your work, church or home. As you allow your faith to influence every aspect of your life, so those around you will notice.
In the final analysis we are all called by God; while some work abroad, others stay at home to share the good news. It is all good news and it is worth sharing!
Pray: Father, we pray for those called by you to share the good news in situations where they might might come into conflict with those who resent them sharing our faith. Help them to be faithful in the face of any opposition. For most of us we are called to share Christ with friends, family or work colleagues. We pray for the power of your Holy Spirit to give us the courage and the willingness to speak up for you. Amen