Understanding Acts | Vision from Heaven | Acts 26.19-23 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | May 24, 2023

“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26.19-23

Paul had a divine meeting with the Lord. He retells the story of his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He does this several times throughout the New Testament. It is his story, his testimony. He describes it to King Agrippa as a “vision from heaven.”

Once Paul heard from Jesus, he had a major course correction. No longer was he persecuting Christians, now he was trying to win over the Jews. This is the radical nature of meeting with God. It changes us. It turns our lives around. We can no longer be complacent in our own comfort, now we follow the voice of the One who came from heaven to meet with humanity.

Paul took the message first, he says, to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and Judea (the Jews), and then to the Gentiles. This was unheard of! For centuries the Jews had been opposing the Gentiles, the neighboring nations did not have claim to God’s promise. But no longer. Now, the message of the Cross was given to all people. And the message was Paul preaching a message of repentance, like John the Baptizer did, that people “should turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” And the message of that Jesus the Messiah “would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

The vision from Heaven that Paul received is meant to be shared. It’s not that God only met with Paul, but that he meets which each of us. My own encounter with Christ, the first genuine encounter, was my surrender thirty seven years ago! It’s hard to believe it’s been so long. But it was then that I first gave my life to Christ and I opened my heart to his call. He awakened me to his Presence, forgave me my sin, and put me on a path to life long obedience and learning the way of Christ.

Paul could not help but speak about what he had seen and heard and so shall we. We who are called by his name are called to proclaim that name. I sit in the town where I received much of my training for ministry, Wilmore, Kentucky. It was here I spent three consecutive years, and then five additional years, seeking instruction, being shaped for ministry. It was thirty years ago that I first came to this place to explore my call to ministry and seek a life of pursuing Christ and spreading the Gospel.

Christ is calling all of us. Will you respond to his voice?

“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me, for calling me, for allowing me to be a part of your plan. Come now, Holy Spirit, fall upon your people so we might be obedient to your call. Give us a vision from Heaven so we might consider walking upright with you all the days of our lives. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen