July 24

Acts 9:4-6 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 5"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

This man, Saul, was one of the up and coming leaders of the Jewish people. He could see that this new belief in Jesus as Messiah was drawing many people away from the religion he so cherished. Determined to stop this threat, he obtained letters from the religious leaders authorizing him to hunt down Christians and throw them into jail. Since most of them had left Jerusalem, he decided to follow them to Damascus.

On the road to Damascus a bright light blinded him. He fell from his horse to the ground and heard the above passage. "Why do you persecute me?" The Lord knows the answer to His own question. It was for Saul's sake the question was asked. It was one that would take time to truly answer in his heart. Why do we fight for religion, when faith is a relationship with the living God? Perhaps Saul was fighting the words he had heard at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:56). Sometimes the more convicted we become, the harder we resist by fighting God. In this case the manifestation of Jesus that Saul was fighting was the body of Christ, the believers. Jesus had ascended, but He said Saul was persecuting Him.

Christian brother or sister, the Lord identifies Himself with you, just as you should identify yourself with Him. Every disciple that was struck in the face was a strike on the face of Christ, filling up His sufferings. Why do the heathen rage?

"Who are You, Lord?" I think Paul knew, but he had to hear the name of Jesus from Jesus' own lips. Now his mind can no longer make excuses to fight the words He had heard. Jesus ordered him to Damascus for instructions. After all, Paul referred to Him as "Lord." Now that Paul had quit resisting, he would begin serving. You have heard too. Is your mind still making excuses, or are you convinced?

Consider: Are you willing to call Him Lord, and receive His instructions?