Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saul or Paul?

"Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."
Saul, convinced he was doing a great service to God, heads out with a fist full of warrants intent on rounding up men and women and taking them to the Jerusalem detention centers.

"Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
Most commentators point out how closely Jesus identifies Himself with His people; what if Jesus identifies Himself that closely with all people?

" hurts you to kick against the goads."
We always manage to find someone to persecute (or bully, depending on your point of view) in the name of Jesus. Ironic, considering we all belong to God whether we realize it or not. Jesus, for His part, reminds us who this hurts.

"...Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem..."
Saul's transformation is shocking to those who know about him. He does not deny it or hide it; it becomes part of his testimony-"...punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme...I was so furiously enraged at them..."
Jesus says 'No, you were not furiously enraged at them. You were furiously enraged at me'.

"But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen..."
At this point Saul's rage against The Way becomes Paul's passion for the The Lord Jesus. Paul, like his Lord, will suffer ridicule rejection. Some things never change.

No comments:

Post a Comment