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Day 27: Persecution

Day 27: Persecution


Quoted from Acts 9.4-7 in the NRSV

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one.

I am taking us back to the conversation between Jesus and Saul when Saul is converted. Saul “wants to know who the ‘me’ is whom he is persecuting.”[1] Saul thinks he is after the enemies of God, and now he is finding out that he is attacking God himself. The people with Saul are confused. They hear the voice but see no one. Willimon suggests, “Conversion, it would seem, while a result of the objective act of God in a person’s life is also intensely personal, often confusing family, friends, and bystanders, who find it difficult to comprehend what has happened to the recipient of conversion.” [2]

Saul’s conversion will not just stop him from persecuting Christians; it will also reorient how he treats any opposition. Conversion can be sudden as it was with Saul, or it can be gradual as it is with many of us. However, as we begin to understand what it means to proclaim that Jesus is Lord, we also begin to understand that how we treat every human being matters. (More on this theme next week.)

I have been writing and rewriting these devotions for a few years now. This series about the Book of Acts and the 50 Days of Easter has been the most compelling focus for me, though. It seems to me that what we are facing in 2018 is similar to what the early church was facing—namely, how do we as a group of people who understand things from many different perspectives honor and love each other as Jesus is asking us to do? What does it mean to persecute anyone? Do you think persecution is ever what Jesus would call us to do?

Recap Prayer: Dear Lord, I never want to persecute You, inspire me to love as You love on earth as in heaven. Amen.

[1] Willimon, William H. (2010-07-15). Acts: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (p. 76). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

[2] Ibid.

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