“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2)
We don’t know the timing of this compared to Saul’s approval of the stoning of Stephen. It is clear, however, that he is on fire to serve the Lord God, as he believes, by hunting down and persecuting the followers of Jesus, a false messiah in his eyes. He is burning with a religious hatred. It is unknown how much damage he has, at this point, done to the Jesus movement. But it is clear that Saul was a person to be concerned about. He was the hunter of Christians.
Most of us find this attitude hard to understand. We cherish freedom of speech and wouldn’t consider persecuting someone who believes differently from us. But today there are still those who do believe this way and hunt down Christians, persecute, and kill them. Today, as then, it is done in the name of a god of some kind that cannot stand a different opinion. Interestingly, we, as Christians don’t do this. We aren’t afraid of our faith being challenged. In fact, we invite it. Many conversions have happened as people have tried to disprove Jesus. He is just too real. He is Alive!
Heavenly Father, we invite anyone to challenge Jesus as the Savior of the world. He can, and we can handle it. After all we don’t make some religion. We tell the story of our Savior and let Him do the rest of bringing a person to trust Him. It is all His work. We are just the messengers. Alleluia!
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.