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Appointed To Open Eyes

Acts 26:16-18
"Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." (NIVUK)

It may seem strange that Paul spoke about the Lord's commission to 'open eyes', when he was speaking to King Herod Agrippa about his conversion (Acts 26:1-3). Strange, because the Lord blinded him by a very bright light on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-4). When He told Paul to stand up he was still blind, and remained so for three days (Acts 9:6-9). And yet Paul was to be a witness to what he had seen, and would see. The physical blindness helped him to understand the depth of his previous spiritual blindness. It was a personal parable of Paul's future life as Jesus commanded Paul to open blind eyes.

Paul's past problem was the same as Agrippa's: they had both been spiritually blind. Neither of them could understand that Jesus was the Messiah, God's appointed Lord and King for everybody. Agrippa's family for three generations had been blind, ruthlessly persecuting Jesus and the church. Paul now longed that the king might see the truth, repent and be saved (Acts 26:28-29). So, Paul probably included his own blindness, and the Lord's commission to open eyes by preaching the gospel, to help Agrippa to wonder if there was something he was not seeing.

The gospel mandate is very powerful (Romans 1:16). When the gospel is presented, seeds of truth lodge in people's hearts; as they grow they reveal the light of Christ, drawing them to repent and trust in Jesus. Satan's power to lock people into their dark past and future hell is then broken (2 Corinthians 4:4) - as full forgiveness replaces bitterness, and the believer is welcomed by Jesus into His eternal family.

Today, the followers of Jesus are automatically Light-bearers in a dark world. The gospel explains why and how other people must turn to Jesus (Acts 17:30). But those in the dark cannot see it. So, we take every opportunity to present them with the truth about Jesus, answering their questions (1 Peter 3:15) and praying that the Lord will open their eyes too. If you are not sure how to present the gospel, use www.crosscheck.org.uk. This tells the gospel story and includes relevant questions to help your friend or colleague understand where they are in relation to Jesus, and how to move forward into His family. Decide to share Jesus, and be ready for His opportunity to open blind eyes.

God of light and truth. Thank You for opening my eyes to understand the gospel and receive the love of Jesus. Forgive me for the times when I have let Satan blind me again to the truth of how I should live; and forgive me for failing to share the gospel with others. Please help me to live in the Light and be a Light-bearer where I live and work. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams