Acts 9:1-5, “But Saul, still breathing threats of slaughter against
the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for
letters to the synagogues at Damascus, that if he found any men or
women belonging to this Way (a word used for Christianity), he might
bring them in bonds to Jerusalem. And as he went on his journey, it
came to pass that he drew near to Damascus, when suddenly a light from
heaven shone round about him; and falling to the ground, he heard a
voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?” And he
said, “Who art thou Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom thou art
On a lazy afternoon this past week-end, I went exploring the internet
looking for ideas about how to improve the format and content of my
blog. And, hopefully, to increase traffic and draw some kind of
response online from those who do happen to visit. I really want to
make this a site where thoughtful people can come, be caused to think
a bit more seriously about their faith, and come to a better
understanding of Scripture. Beyond that, both for myself and any who
care to join the quest, I want to be able to make practical
application of the results of such a study.
One successful blogger gave ten reasons why, in her opinion, people
didn’t post any comments when they do drop in. I learned some
lessons, I hope. One of the reasons given was that we (the writers of
the blogs) sometimes ask questions which are too large. Too large?
After I thought of it, the idea made sense. I realize that the
question I’m asking right now is one of those questions:
Why are you persecuting me? Indeed! That was the question God
raised for Paul to consider, and that’s the question I’ve been
wrestling with lately. It is not a question which can be dismissed
lightly. A superficial answer simply won’t work.
In a sense, I reckon it’s my own fault. The idea of having a
conversation with God (with Him speaking. Out loud. To me.) led me to
think: If He were to do such a thing, wouldn’t it be logical to assume
He might do so by simply asking a question and then waiting for my
response? Following that line of thought, I began to remember and
discover where He had done precisely that and had asked questions of
others in distant places and times.
That’s what brought me to this place. And the question which has made
me a bit uncomfortable for several days. I couldn’t imagine that I’d
deliberately persecute, or hurt God. Of all people! Why would I do
such a thing?! How could I possibly do such a thing?
Trying to be as careful and thorough as possible, I pondered the
meaning of “persecution.” I looked at definitions in several places,
including a couple of Bible dictionaries. A thesaurus offers synonyms
(words which mean essentially the same thing.), which vary in some
ways and run the gamut from “aggravation” to harsh and savagely cruel
treatment of another person. There are degrees of severity, but it
boils down to hurtful action against the person who’s being targeted
On the road to Damascus, on a mission to flush out and capture any
“Christians” he could find, Paul got stopped dead in his tracks and
heard that question.
The thing that struck me so forcefully is that Paul had no idea he
was doing such a thing. Quite the contrary, he (or someone) had
psyched him into actually believing he was doing the will of God by
stamping out the impudent, Christian faith which was still in its
infancy. I do not doubt that he was convinced he was doing the right
thing. He was sincere. But he was sincerely wrong.
Can you imagine what a blow that must have been to the man’s pride?
A devout, well-trained, highly educated person, on the fast track to
stardom among his fellow religionists. And, suddenly, he is
confronted with the question which shakes him to his foundation.
Gracious! That’s enough to make any person stop and take inventory
about their conduct, their objectives, their motives, and their
Whatever I do, I don’t want to be found going against the Lord God of
the Universe. This is some serious stuff! If I hadn’t taken the time
before, I’ve been carefully considering this question lately.
Is it possible to be completely dedicated, completely convinced, and
completely wrong? Could I mistakenly be caught up in fervent,
religious activity, which actually turns out to be persecution of God?
Do you understand now why I’ve been taking so long to ponder? This really is a “BIG” QUESTION!