Today’s Readings: Acts 13:38 NIV
38 [Paul said,] “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”
Paul has presented the Gospel in a clear and succinct manner. He knew the men who were listening to his message were formulating a decision in their minds that would affect the rest of their lives. It is difficult to speak with great conviction, knowing the end result is not up to you. I imagine Paul was silently praying, “Lord, send your Holy Spirit to touch them, to help them believe!” Before Christ ascended into heaven, He instructed His followers to go and make disciples of all nations. Paul, who once persecuted new Christian converts, was instantly changed the moment Jesus Christ stepped into his path. He knew firsthand the power of the Holy Spirit and what could happen in an instant. He scanned the room and looked into the eyes of all who were glued to his every word. Paul wondered if the Word of Truth had pierced their hearts the way it did for him that day on the road to Damascus.
Imagine that you are sitting in the juror’s box today, while Paul, servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, is finishing his final summation as defense counsel for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You were not really thrilled when you received your service of summons in this case, because you knew it would impact your daily life. Christ’s case had become a hot topic around town and your friends and family were eagerly watching to see how you would vote. The decision made today would obviously impact the future of your family, your current job, your comfortable lifestyle, and your future security. You could lose your life over the decision rendered in today’s courtroom. Has his testimony been compelling? Will you find in favor of the defendant?
The judge instructs the jury as they prepare to deliberate privately. A set of jury instructions is given to help guide the jury in reaching a fair verdict. As you read these words aloud, you can feel the pulse of your heartbeat quicken, “The evidence which you are to consider in this case consists of the testimony of the witnesses, the exhibits, and any facts admitted or agreed to by counsel.” Your blood pressure rises as you begin to evaluate the evidence presented in court. The veins are now obviously pulsing in the carotid arteries; you are acutely aware of migraine pain forming at the base of your neck.
You close your eyes and rub your temples, to shade yourself from the bright sunlight streaming through the window near your seat. In your mind’s eye, you see Jesus Christ hanging on the cross with blood pulsing out of his body, pouring out forgiveness for all who will receive Him. You cannot escape His Truth; Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sin. Now you see Jesus reaching out to you in love. How can this be? Unimaginable love for a sin sick humanity, the Father cared enough to send His very best – Jesus Christ, the unblemished Lamb of God. He willingly gave His life for you and me. Will you believe and receive His forgiveness today? Are you willing to claim Christ’s Truth in a court of law?
It is now time to cast your vote. Written ballots are passed around the table. You have received your card and you hold it in the palm of your hand. The evidence has been presented and is before you now. Your blood pressure is rising, as Christ’s blood is washing you clean. What is your testimony before the Lord? Have you reached a decision today?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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