Saturday, March 28, 2015
The Road The Damascus
"58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he (Stephen) called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep." - Acts 7:58-60"58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep." - Acts 7:58-60
Saul was a rather ruthless man and he had a "thing" for persecuting Christians. Kind of like what is going on in the news these days in the Middle East. Early Christians were constantly persecuted and Saul was rather good at it.
In Acts 9 Saul headed for Damascus seeking Christians, people of "The Way," so he could bring them before the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Stoning Stephen was just one of many "treats" Saul had. Saul loves persecuting Christians.
"But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem." - Acts 9:1-2
Saul rather enjoyed what he was doing. One could even say he was obsessed with his persecution of Christians. Again, it sure sounds like something from the evening news these days, but there is something drastically different in Saul's story and his persecution of Christians - the Road to Damascus.
"3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." - Acts 9:3-5
Saul met Jesus and an incredible transformation took place. From that moment on Saul, whose name was changed to Paul by Jesus, began preaching the Gospel rather than persecuting Christians. The difference between our enemies of today and the enemiies of Saul back then . . . . was Jesus.
What does Jesus ask of us concerning OUR enemies?
"43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48
Only God has the power to change our enemies. There is no treaty, created by man, that will ever work. Not without the approval of God anyway. Only God can change the world in which we live. You and I need to pray.
Here is a question for you. I encourage you to examine yourself. Have you had "a Damascus road moment?" Was there a point in your life where you became transformed? Has there been a Damascus Road moment in which Jesus transformed YOUR life?
Here's another question. Whom are you persecuting today? Think about it. Are you "persecuting" Jesus Christ today by the way you live your life?
Looking at myself, before I had my Damascus Road moment, I WAS living a life contrary to God's will. I was only interested in what I wanted. I was only interested in satisfying MY needs. I was my own worst enemy. I was my own Saul - living a life that would only lead to death.
Pray for yourself today. Ask Jesus to transform YOUR life right now!
You say, I'm a Christian already. Why should I do that?
I examine myself daily to discover areas where I need to be transformed. In many ways I am still walking on that Damascus road, searching for things that I want to do. I need to repent of that, humble myself before God, and ask Him to transform MY life so I can be more like His Son, Jesus.
Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
"For some days he (Paul) was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ." - Acts 9:19-22
Transform YOUR life today by surrendering it to Jesus. Only God has the power to change lives. What God did for Saul He can do for you. Please, place your faith in Him today.
Homeless Veteran Timelapse Transformation