Acts 25:23–Acts 26:32
Have you ever noticed how the same stories are told and re-told at family gatherings? Oftentimes the stories told on repeat serve as clues to the values we hold deep. If our uncle values athletics, we’ll likely hear about his glory years in high school football dating to four decades ago. If our grandmother values resourcefulness, we may hear chronicles of a prom dress made by her mother, a house built by her father, and a family-sustaining garden out their back door. Stories are more than strings of events. They are preserved memories of the things that matter. Stories themselves matter.
In Acts 26, we find the third retelling of Paul’s conversion story in the book of Acts alone. Why does this matter so much to the author, Luke, that he would include it three times? Because Paul’s conversion story is all of our stories. There is a “before,” a “but then” moment, and a new life from there. Paul was a terrorist and murderer of Christians before meeting Christ, but then he met Jesus. In his new life, he dedicated his days to spreading the Gospel. We were all sinners before accepting Jesus’s grace, and we now live out of the fullness and freedom of that redemption. Particularly noteworthy from Jason’s message was when he pointed out that even longtime Christians still have “but then” moments. The newness of grace can be continually revealed regardless of how long we’ve been walking with Christ. How can we invite the Spirit into our lives today to welcome (for the first time or five hundredth time!) Him to change us anew with a “but then” moment?
Jesus please change me and give me a “but then” moment.