In Acts 22, Paul speaks to the crowd in Jerusalem after his return from his third missionary journey where he had been sent by God to preach to Gentiles throughout Greece and Macedonia. Paul had been warned by the prophet Agabas that at his return to Jerusalem, Paul would be bound and turned over by Jewish leaders to Gentiles. Yet Paul continued to speak out boldly.
Indeed, in Acts 22, as prophesied, Paul was held by the commander of the Roman regiment in Jerusalem but allowed to speak to a mob that had tried to kill him. Paul addressed the crowd in their native language Aramaic so they could clearly understand.
What struck me was even though forewarned and attacked, Paul remained faithful and bold in his witness for Christ to the angry crowd that just tried to kill him. He was clear and transparent in explaining how by grace, God had chosen him even though he was a sinner and had committed deeds resulting in the death of followers of the Way (Christians). Paul explained that God let him see the Righteous One (Jesus) and hear Jesus speak (verse 14). This had all occurred in spite of Paul’s earlier persecution of Christians. The crowd was willing to listen to a point until Paul explained God’s mission for him to preach to the Gentiles and then the mob turned on Paul again.
Just as Paul was ready to give the reason for his ministry to the Gentiles and for the hope he had in Jesus Christ, so I and all of us need to be ready to give a reason for our hope and joy in Christ to an increasingly hostile, uninterested and distracted world that desperately needs Christ’s love. As in Paul’s example of ministry, we too will need to speak boldly, plainly and be transparent about our need for Christ and his forgiveness in order to be heard by others. According to verse 16, “What are we waiting for?” We may find ourselves on the internet or face-to-face with angry or disinterested listeners. But we have been forgiven and transformed by God’s grace. With our faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, the message of hope will be communicated without distortion.