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Sharing How You Met Jesus

Acts 22:6-11
About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, "Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?" "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. "What shall I do, Lord?" I asked. "Get up," the Lord said, "and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do." My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me. (NIVUK)

Paul's personal testimony started by explaining what he believed and how he behaved before he met Jesus (Acts 22:3-5). Standing on the steps of the Roman fortress, chained to two soldiers, Paul was allowed to defend himself (Acts 21:40); but really, he was defending the gospel and proclaiming Jesus. After describing his strict upbringing and education as a Pharisee, Paul moved quickly to explain what happened when he met Jesus on the Damascus road, while on his way to persecute Christians in that city (Acts 9:1-2).

This is one of three accounts in Acts (Acts 9:3-9; 22:6-11; 26:13-19). This event was so important to Paul because it marked his conversion from being a religious fanatic to becoming a child of God; from being an obsessional, proud legalist - to confidently submitting himself as a servant of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1). The Lord intervened in his life through a dazzling bright light and by words, addressing him by name, and asking why he was persecuting Him.

This divine encounter was unique and personal to Paul. Although the other men saw the light and heard a noise, neither made any sense to them. But Paul now knew that Jesus of Nazareth was not dead: He is alive and He is Lord, with infinite power and authority. Paul realised that all his arguments against Jesus were futile: he must submit to the person whose Name he hated but, until then, had never met. Instead of fighting against Him, Paul asked the Lord Jesus what he should do; and he obeyed.

A Christian's testimony has three elements. Firstly, what you believed and how you lived before you met Jesus. Secondly, how you met Jesus and submitted to His Lordship. Thirdly, how your life changed since meeting Jesus and receiving Him as your Lord and Saviour. Your experience will be different to the Apostle Paul's, and indeed from every other believer. But all our stories share a common focus: that we have turned from what we thought was right and embraced what Jesus knows is right, because His grace drew our hearts to Him and we received Him. So, prepare to tell your story of how you came into a personal relationship with Jesus. Some people find it helpful to write it down first for their own sake (it often surprises them, looking back, what the Lord has done in them). Then ask a friend or colleague if you can share your story of coming to know Jesus. Some will not be interested; but others will listen and start searching for Jesus, who is already at work in their lives (www.crosscheck.org.uk).

Father God. Thank You for drawing my heart to trust in Jesus. Forgive me for failing to tell that story, perhaps out of fear or sense of failure, weakness or inadequacy. Help me to be ready to tell my friends and colleagues what Jesus means to me and how I have welcomed Him as my Saviour and Lord. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams