The words of Paul in his defence before King Agrippa challenge us to do a good measure of our own heart searching and meditation. This king is aware of the convictions of belief that were developing as a result of the preaching of the Apostles and others. Paul makes some challenging points – and also poses questions which are ignored today as our world rushes along having given up any attempt to consider there is a Creator, the one true God who has a divinely appointed destiny for our world – which is fully the result of his wondrous creative power.
Paul asks the king and his audience, “Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” [Acts 26 v.8] Paul recounts the wonder of his conversion on the road to Damascus blinded by a brilliant light out of which came a voice which said, “‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” [v.15] Paul is told to go to the Gentiles, “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light…” [v.18] Paul wrote to the Corinthians telling them about “God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”(he) has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” [2nd letter 4 v.6]
Paul recounts his work first among the Jews and then – mainly – among the Gentiles.(v.17) to achieve this work of opening minds to see light instead of darkness. God’s words through Isaiah echo in our minds, “Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” [50 v.10] This was Paul’s message, his preaching! And ours? Let us read the whole of God’s word – and encourage others to also do so..
The particular point which arrested our attention and challenged our thinking this morning was Paul’s statement to the king, “To this day I have had the help that comes from God … saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass …” [v.22]
God’s word has been wondrously preserved – it also gives us “the help that comes from God.” It alone illuminates the meaning of our lives and the reason for the existence of the wonders of this world. Peter summed our situation up perfectly in his final letter, “we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” [1 v.19] It will rise in the “hearts” of all those who whole-heartedly believe because they really know God’s word and have been seeking “the help that comes from God.”