Luke, “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14), travelled with Paul in his later years. It is evident Luke was with him when he was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17). The detailed record we read today is therefore an eye witness account, and Luke shows himself in many ways to be a diligent historian.

We read the three fascinating speeches Paul gave in his defense. In these he stresses how his life was turned around on the road to Damascus, causing him to preach the message of Jesus “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light … that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (26:18). Genuine faith brings us into a position of ‘holiness’ (see Hebrews 12:14).

The “darkness” in the Jewish world was pierced by that light. Indeed only 300 years later Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. History shows how the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles had become corrupted by that time. Nevertheless God’s word endures, and now brings “light” into the minds of those who will receive it and respond to what they read. Paul is one of the outstanding examples for us to follow. Paul said to King Agrippa, “to this day I have had the help that comes from God” (Acts 26:22) as his letters illustrate.

Paul is ready to appeal and challenge everyone, great or small, as to what they believe about the meaning and purpose of their lives. He says to the king, “do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe” (verse 27), to which the king responds, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”

Maybe some have too much time! Many are not sufficiently conscious of “the help that comes from God” and fail to read the scriptures daily and allow God’s word to live in their hearts and minds. For ourselves it is only when we look back on the varied pathways of life one realizes the help that has come from God. Do you want that help? Do you need that help? Can you sense that help in the pathways of life you have travelled?