“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. But God has helped me to this very day, so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Messiah would suffer and as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:19-23)
Some Jews tried to kill Paul when he told them they needed to repent because they didn’t want to be accused. Others tried to kill him because they didn’t want a message spread that Gentiles could be resurrected. God protected Paul, so he could testify both to the commoners and the elite and the Jews and the Gentiles that Jesus died to save us all.
The Old Testament teaches that God will resurrect the Jews but only hints at the resurrection of the Gentiles. “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19) But Genesis 12:3b says: “All people on earth will be blessed by you (Abraham).”
The Jewish Scriptures also tell about the Messiah’s suffering but only suggest His resurrection. “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11)
Are we like these Jews? Do we think we’re perfect and don’t need to repent? Do we make up rules so others think it’s impossible for them to turn to Jesus? Or do we shine our light for Jesus and pray for our loved ones and enemies to believe in Him?
Father, I praise You for the message of light and a love so great that the wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat. Relationships will be restored with those whose love I barely remember. Let me shine my light for Jesus so others will know a love so great. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.