By Lawrence Tong
Acts 26:19-21 presents a compelling narrative of the Apostle Paul's meeting with King Agrippa. During this encounter, Paul shares his divine commission, narrates his conversion experience, and expresses his steadfast dedication to the mission entrusted to him by the risen Lord. This passage serves as a poignant reminder of the heart we should cultivate – a profound desire to actively spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who have not yet heard it.
AN OBEDIENT RESPONSE TO THE DIVINE CALL.
In vs. 19 Paul reveals that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision he received. This statement encapsulates the essence of missions. When God calls us to spread the Gospel, whether in our local communities or distant lands, our immediate response should be one of obedience. The urgency of the Great Commission urges us to act without hesitation or reluctance, recognizing the significance of sharing God's message of hope and salvation with others. In the preceding verse, Paul proclaims that faith in Christ brings forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among the sanctified for those who turn to Him. Having a compassionate heart for the lost entails recognizing the eternal significance of our mission. When souls are redeemed through Jesus' sacrifice, they receive forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and the promise of an everlasting inheritance in His kingdom. This understanding compels us to share the Gospel with urgency and passion.
TESTIFYING TO BOTH SMALL AND GREAT.
Paul’s declaration in verse 22, "I stand here testifying both to small and great." means recognizing that the message of salvation is for everyone, regardless of social status, ethnicity, or geographical location. We are called to bear witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ to people from all walks of life. No one is beyond the reach of God's love, and we should be eager to proclaim His name to both the marginalized and the influential - it is our privilege to point them to Jesus Christ, the One who offers true freedom and hope.
RECEIVING FORGIVENESS AND AN INHERITANCE.
Paul testifies that he not only shared the message but also urged people to repent and turn to God, showing their repentance through deeds. As we strive to reach the lost, our goal is not just to convey the message but to witness transformation in people's lives. True repentance leads to a genuine surrender to God's will and a change in behaviour. Having a heart for the lost souls should prompt us to fervently pray for softened hearts and transformed lives.
Acts 26:19-21 portrays Paul as an avid ambassador for Christ, unyielding in his devotion to the Gospel. His testimony serves as a powerful example of what it means to have a heart for the lost souls. It calls us to be obedient to God's call, to testify to all, to lead people from darkness to light, and to be instruments of forgiveness and transformation.