“They listened to him until this word.”
After his arrest, Paul shared Christ with the mob that tried to kill him. They listened intently to him because his message was fascinating and relevant. It seemed they had a true interest, and even an openness to the Gospel. But that all changed once Paul mentioned the Gentiles. That single word caused the hearers to close their ears, harden their hearts, and reject the message of Christ.
Paul was not the only one to experience people coming close to responding to Christ, only to hear something they did not like and to shut down. We read in John 6, Jesus had developed a very large following until He spoke about His suffering and death. When they heard that, we are told they responded,
“This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” John 6:60
To which John commented,
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”
On another occasion, a man approached Jesus with a question about how to receive eternal life. Jesus spoke with him about morality then told him to forsake his old life and come follow after Jesus. He seemed to enjoy a discussion about morality, but when it came to transformed living we are told,
“But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:22
What about you? Is there anything keeping you from committing all to Christ? Perhaps the requirement of repentance or the need for total surrender? Maybe it is simpler than that; perhaps there is one area in your life that you have been unwilling to give to the Lord. That one area is keeping you from following wholly after Jesus. Sadly, this crowd that was so close to responding to Jesus, became harder and harder.
If there is an “until” in your life, surrender now, at the feet of Jesus, and begin to experience the living water He promised would flow in the lives of those who followed Him.
Questions for Acts 22
- Paul now begins to speak to the crowd. Notice how he addresses the Jews, he gives his testimony. This is who I was, and now who I am. Jesus has changed me. How has Jesus changed you? Who today might need to hear your testimony?
- Verse 18-22, Paul’s heart longed for his people the Jews and now he had his opportunity. Paul had wanted to go to Jerusalem and God said “no, go to the Gentiles”. Paul waited almost 17 years to return to Jerusalem. Is there something in your life that you want to do and God is saying “no, go to another place”?
- Paul’s Roman citizenship has saved him from a scourging. Gods’ wonderful plan unfolding as Paul trusts Him along this journey. What are some things in your life that God has used to deliver you?