Read This Week: Acts 22

“‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. – Acts 22:8-9, 22-25 NIV

There was a great Christian song that came out at the turn of the century written by Charles Billingsley, and part of it goes like this: “These are the marks of the mission. These are the proof of all I’ve been through, the evidence of sin forgiven. All that I have I offer to you. I followed the call wherever it led me. It was worth every step of the way. I’ve come through the dark bearing the marks of the mission.”

The lyrics to this chorus could be the life song of the Apostle Paul after his conversion on the Damascus road. We see this summarized in Acts 22 during Paul’s message in Jerusalem about his conversion to Christianity and his mission beyond that time. We also observe what happened when he proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ as the savior for the Jew and Gentile alike.

In his sermon, Paul talks about his early conduct and his persecution of the church and followers of Christ. He then tells the crowd of his amazing conversion and affirms that Jesus is alive and that he saw His glory and heard His voice. Paul then sums up his talk with his special calling and mission to carry the gospel far away from Jerusalem to the Gentiles and the outer stretches of Asia Minor. At this point, the Jews would not permit him to continue and they became enraged and combative toward him. Verses 22-23 tell us:

The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks.

Then something miraculous happens. Paul appeals to Claudius, the commander, and tells him that he is being punished illegally because he is a Roman citizen and has not been found guilty of a crime. The commander realizes this and releases Paul to have a fair trial before the Sanhedrin. With the help and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, Paul knew how to make use of his Roman citizenship for the cause of Christ.

Acts 22 is filled with more examples of the marks of Paul’s mission. He had been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and snake-bitten on his missionary journeys. He was not afraid of being flogged or the serious misunderstandings of his message that were taking place in Jerusalem. He simply considered all of this the evidence of his forgiveness and the will of God. It was worth it to him to carry the marks.

What are the marks of your mission? Perhaps you’ve never been beaten, whipped, threatened, or physically harmed for the cause of Christ. But maybe you’ve suffered the loss of relationships, a job, friends, and emotional hardship because you call yourself a Christian, and you choose to love and follow Jesus. These are just the proof of what you’ve been through. Proof of a beautiful life with God.

These are the marks worthy of the Savior who loves us and gave His life for us. May we embrace the privilege to bear the marks of the Lord’s mission and press on with joy.

8 Comments

  1. Kathy on March 18, 2021 at 10:05 am

    In reading Acts 22, this was what God was saying to me, “You may come to Me just as you are, but you must come to Me through My Son Jesus Christ. You don’t have to clean yourself up. I will clean you up. You are unique, One of a kind. I want to use your background to use you in a special way. You can help others go through the things you have been through. You don’t have to know how things will turn out. You only have to trust Me. I will be with you every step of your journey.”

    What this said to me is I am a child of God, his masterpiece. Everything I do should be for Him. He wants me to come to Him, just as I am, where He can clean me up. When I try to clean myself up without Him, I fail miserably. I need to continue to work on the mission He has given me. I need to continue to be a light so that I can bring others to Him.

    • Jason on March 24, 2021 at 11:43 am

      I really appreciate this word, Kathy. This really stood out to me as a great promise from God and a spiritual and eternal reason for the marks of our mission and the struggles we endure:

      You don’t have to clean yourself up. I will clean you up. You are unique, One of a kind. I want to use your background to use you in a special way. You can help others go through the things you have been through.

      It is refreshing and hopeful to know that God does the saving, regenerating, and redeeming and all we have to do is be faithful and obedient to His mission.

  2. Alma Dolores Schmidt on March 19, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    This week in Acts 22, God gave me a song called, “Closer to You”:

    We want to know you more and more
    Become closer to you, my Lord

    You give us strength when we are weak
    You mend the broken-hearted
    You give us joy when we are sad

    Your strength makes us stronger
    To become closer, closer to you, our Lord
    We are willing to hear your voice
    Sharing your messages, sharing your messages

    We want to know you more and more
    Become closer to you, my Lord. Amen.

    God is so amazing and gives us His strength and kindness. I love all that He does and I want to spend time worshipping and praising you, my Lord.

    • Jason on March 24, 2021 at 11:53 am

      I love this song as a companion to Acts 22, Alma. It captures the essence of Paul’s journey and faith. He was truly one that wanted to grow closer and closer to God and allowed His intimacy with Christ to make him stronger for the mission.

      Your song lyrics reminded me of one of my favorite worship songs from years ago called “You Are My All In All”:

      You are my strength when I am weak
      You are the treasure that I seek
      You are my all in all

      When I fall down you pick me up
      When I am dry You fill my cup
      You are my all in all

      Jesus Lamb of God
      Worthy is your name
      Jesus Lamb of God
      Worthy is your name

  3. Heidi on March 21, 2021 at 9:56 am

    We’re all on a mission, a journey with Father God. If you have given your life to Jesus then you have been called to a life with Father God and His family.

    Like Paul, we get to be part of what Father God is doing, leading, caring, praying (talking to God), and loving people for God. Someone loved us enough to share Jesus with us! We all have a story to tell and share with others how we gave our life to Jesus. Let’s keep sharing as we are led by the Holy Spirit.

    Someday we will get to meet Paul and those who have inspired us to live a life with Father God. So keep sharing because you will meet those who you inspired one day in heaven too.

    • Jason on March 24, 2021 at 12:04 pm

      I love this, Heidi. I feel like this part is the mission and the inspiration of what God has done for us and how we serve Him in sharing others:

      Someone loved us enough to share Jesus with us! We all have a story to tell and share with others how we gave our life to Jesus. Let’s keep sharing as we are led by the Holy Spirit.

      We are followers of Jesus because of the power of the Holy Spirit and because someone else was on mission. May we be faithful to do the same for others.

  4. Jeri Centers on March 21, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    God gave me a poem from Acts 22 verse 15:

    Stand fast, don’t budge
    From the truth don’t nudge.

    Stand tall lofty, mighty high
    Lest to the world, you may comply.

    Stand solid on your rock
    Watch carefully the way you walk.

    Stand up to your enemy
    Into God’s word.

    What that means to me is to stay strong in your faith, be alert to what you see and hear.

    • Jason on March 24, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      This is such a profound line in your poem, Jeri:

      Stand solid on your rock
      Watch carefully the way you walk.

      This is sometimes all we can do on the mission and journey of faith, yet it is all we need. To stand on God’s word and truth and apply to the way we live our lives.

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