Finally, after two years of waiting Paul gets to present his case to the authorities. This is the last real speech in Acts - a book that is defined by its speeches. We might expect that this is where Paul would break out the big guns. This is where we will see his fancy education come up with elegant philosophical proof, or where he would go through the Old Testament and talk about prophecies. Some of us who have studied apologetics might have expected a clever argument proving the resurrection.
Instead, Paul simply tells his story. He doesn’t begin with Genesis - he starts with his life as a Pharisee. He talks about how he used to persecute the church, and about the moment on the road to Damascus where everything changed. He speaks of his conviction and the mission that God placed into his life. This is the most simple and plain-spoken speech that Paul gives - that anyone in Acts gives - and it is most moving and powerful.
Many Christians are afraid to share the gospel with people in their lives because they think that they aren’t eloquent enough, or that they lack the necessary training or gifts. They don’t know how to give a sermon - and would be so nervous that they couldn’t get through it if they tried. So many non-believers don’t ever hear the gospel because the Christians in their lives simply don’t know what to say.
Paul shows us the power of telling your own story - the story of how Christ changed your life. You may not have a seminary education or practice in public speaking - that’s okay. But you are an expert on how God has changed your life - and that simple testimonial can often have a greater impact than the most elegant sermon or most forceful argument. We should never underestimate the power of telling someone we know and care about how God has changed our lives- and could change theirs too.
Who in your life needs to hear that message? Are you willing to be the one who delivers it? Pray that God will give you the words - and more importantly, the courage to be His witness.