Jesus Loves Terrorists?
By Skip Heitzig
Terrorists have inflicted more damage on the people of this planet than just about anything else. So the thought that Jesus loves terrorists is enough to throw people for a loop. But did you know the Bible records the story of a terrorist Jesus loved?
Saul of Tarsus—a man who terrorized the Christian church in the name of religion—has one of the most monumental conversion stories in all of history, showing us the mind-blowing fact that terrorists can, in fact, be reached.
Saul was obsessed with persecuting believers (see Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2). He was so obsessed that he took his murder show on the road. But "as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' And he said, 'Who are You, Lord?' Then the Lord said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' So he, trembling and astonished, said, 'Lord, what do You want me to do?' Then the Lord said to him, 'Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do'" (Acts 9:3-6; see vv. 7-19 for the rest of the story).
The terrorist from Tarsus had an experience with the living Christ. Can you imagine? Every time I read this, I think, God must've really wanted this guy saved. From this moment on, Saul was changed.
Later on, he showed up among the believers in Jerusalem going, "I'm saved now! I'm converted!" (see Acts 9:26). Do you think they welcomed him with a big Christian hug? No—they were very hesitant, because Saul was considered an impossible case. This was the guy who won "Most Unlikely to Convert to Christianity" in high school. And yet he had this incredible conversion.
What people in your life have you written off as impossible cases? I hope Saul's story gives you hope. I have read so many stories of people—particularly Muslims—in countries where the gospel can't be preached or missionaries can't go who, by a dream or a vision or a semi-conscious state, have been saved.
The bottom line is that God can find a way where there is no way. No one is too lost for Him to save. As Jesus put it, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27). He really loves terrorists—just look at the extreme measures He took to save one.
Let's engage in the ongoing battle against terrorism in the world by continuing to pray not only for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, but for the terrorists who are persecuting them as well.
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God calls us to be light-bearers in a dark world. Explore First John with Lenya Heitzig's Live Brilliantly Bible study and discover what it means to walk in the light of God's love, so you can bring light to even the darkest places.