Here is Paul, near the end of his earthly journey. He is on his way to Rome, where his journey will end. And as he stands before King Agrippa and shares the story of his life, conversion, and ministry, he shares the mission statement by which he lived. It was the commission he had been given by Jesus Christ Himself that fateful day as he traveled along the road to Damascus. Jesus said:
"I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me." – Acts 26:17-18 NASB
There it is. Paul's mission statement. It was his life's calling and he followed it and fulfilled it faithfully. In fact, he was sharing this same message of hope and life transformation as he "defended" himself before King Agrippa and Festus. In fact, Paul seemed less interested in convincing his listeners of his own innocence than in convincing them to receive Christ. You can hear the conviction in his voice when he states to Agrippa:
"I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not onlyr you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains." – Acts 26:29 NASB
From darkness to light
Paul had a message to share. It was about light – the same brilliant light that had blinded him that day as he traveled to Jerusalem to continue his persecution of the church. It was about the light of the world, that shines into the darkness of men's lives, illuminating the reality of their lives, exposing and purifying their sinfulness, and transforming them into children of light. It was the very thing Jesus said He had come to do.
He [John the Baptist] came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." – John 1:7-13 NASB
The Light still shines in the darkness. Now he does it through us. We can still shine His sin-exposing, darkness-defeating light into the lives of men, just by telling His story. By telling our story. Paul simply shared how the Light had illumined his life. He didn't share a theory or a theology, but a reality. The Light that is Jesus Christ had shined into his dark life one day and changed it forever. It had taken Paul from darkness to light, from sinfulness to forgiveness, from Satan's control to God's, from a man in debt and condemned to die to an heir of God with a priceless inheritance in heaven. Is that your story? If it is, then why not tell someone?
Father, never let me forget just how great the story of my life transformation is. You sent Your Son and He shined the light of His life into my dark life one day and radically changed me forever. I am covered by His light and it continues to reveal sin and redeem my life daily. He is giving me new life each and every day. He is transforming me daily. His light gives me hope. His light gives me direction. His light gives me life. Thank You. Amen
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. – John 1:4 NASB