“Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:16-18 (NIV)
Wow, In this verse, Paul is recounting the story of Jesus appearing to him while he was on his way to torture followers of Jesus. At the sight of Jesus, Paul collapses to the ground. When Paul asks, “Who are you Lord?” Jesus replies, “I am Jesus…”. The next words out of Jesus’ mouth are, “Now get up and stand on your feet.” Talk about straight forward. Jesus was really communicating that the time for messing around, living in sin, and for things that have no eternal value are over. Like Paul, no matter your past, Christ’s blood shed on the cross cleanses you from all your sin and shame. It’s time to put your proverbial “big boy pants” on and start living for what truly matters, the souls of people. Then, without missing a beat, Jesus tells him what that looks like - “I am sending you to them (those who don’t know Jesus) to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and the power of Satan to God…” As Jesus was sent to rescue humanity from a broken and lost way of life, Jesus is now sending Paul to continue His “rescue mission.” Jesus also informs Paul of the real need at hand - “that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” As Jesus followers, we need to understand that the greatest need for all people is the forgiveness of sins. Sin is anything that hurts our relationships with others and with God. This is man’s greatest need, and the church (followers of Jesus, filled with His Spirit) is God’s greatest answer. So If that’s you, “Get up!” and “Stand on your feet!” Your friends, family, and neighbors need to experience the forgiveness that Jesus offers through His death on the cross. Ask Jesus to open your eyes to who might need to hear this good news. Then Pray, Pursue, and Persuade! PRAY that their hearts may be opened, PURSUE them through relationship opportunities, and PERSUADE them through conversations that are appointed by God to share the “Good News” of Jesus!