ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 118


“I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the
very name of Jesus the Nazarene. Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent
to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned
to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get
them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased
them down in foreign cities.
“One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as
I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down
on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying
to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for
you to fight against my will.’
“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now
get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant
and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will
show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people
and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes,
so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to
God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place
among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
“And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first
to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also
to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and
prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested
me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God
has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone,
from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets
and Moses said would happen—that the Messiah would suffer and be the
first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews
and Gentiles alike.”
Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has
made you crazy!”
But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am
saying is the sober truth. And King Agrippa knows about these things.
I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they
were not done in a corner! King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I
know you do—”
Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

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