The Two Sauls
Read Acts 9:3-4
"Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'"
Read the rest of Saul's story in Acts 9, and then think about these questions: What were the reactions to Saul's "conversion"? How did God provide for Saul after his roadside experience? Did anyone ever accept Saul?
There are two men in the Bible named Saul, and neither one are what you'd call saints. The first Saul had the distinction of being the first King of Israel. He was a timid man with an unstable character. On the day of his coronation, he was caught hiding from the crowd. Though he was responsible for leading the people in a godly way, he often let his emotions take control.
He was intensely jealous of a young man named David who the people seemed to love. And later in his life he turned to witchcraft and sorcery to guide his future. This Saul died in battle by his own hand.
The second Saul, though you wouldn't call him a saint, he would have no doubt told you how intensely religious he was. He was a Pharisee and extremely passionate about God. He knew the Bible backwards and forwards, but he was also a man of action. And when a group of people calling themselves Christians started teaching a new way to follow God, Saul took it upon himself to stop them. He threw men and women both in jail. He supervised numerous executions of these Christ-followers.
He even traveled to distant cities in his passion to stomp out these Christians. Saul met his end on the way to Damascus in an ambush of sorts.
It would have been one thing if he had been ambushed by Christians, but Saul found himself face to face with Christ Himself. As he cowered in blinding light of heaven, Saul must have been afraid for his life. Here he had spent years cursing the name of Christ and killing His followers. Surely, he was about to die. After all the things he had done, how could Jesus allow him to live?
Maybe you've felt like that before. Based on your past you wonder how it's possible that God could love you. If He knows all about you, surely He's long since turned away in disgust.
But no one ever tricked God into loving them. He loves you. That's all. Not because of what you've done or can do for Him in the future. He loves you and that will never change.
Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness when I mess up. Thank You for a love that's greater than my mistakes. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash Saulo Mohana