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Why Are You (Blindly) Persecuting?

Acts 26:12-15
'On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads." Then I asked, "Who are you, Lord?" "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," the Lord replied.' (NIVUK)

Paul was given the opportunity to speak to King Herod Agrippa II to defend himself against false accusations (Acts 26:1). Instead Paul asserted his innocence and then went on to give his testimony about how He met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul wanted Agrippa to be saved too (Acts 26:25-29).

Obsessed by power, in a religious guise, Paul was travelling to find Jewish people who believed in Jesus. When Paul found them, he had the power to have them imprisoned or killed (Acts 22:4-5). However, the Lord Jesus saw what Paul (previously known as Saul) was doing and challenged him. Firstly, a very bright light made him stop and blinded him. Secondly, Jesus asked Saul a question, "… why are you persecuting Me?"

Jesus said that He knew how much Paul's conscience was hurting. A part of Paul was resolute in destroying the church, but another part knew he was doing wrong, even though he did not know why (1 Timothy 1:13). Paul's response was to address Jesus as Lord and ask His Name. Graciously Jesus revealed Himself. All the time Paul had been terrorising the believers, enjoying the power and shrugging off the guilty conscience by rationalising that he was doing good for his religion. In the end, however, he accepted the authority of Jesus over him and no longer doubted that Jesus was alive. Repenting of his sin, Paul was forgiven.

The Lord still asks questions, through His written Word and by His Spirit. Those questions are designed to help us to understand where we are out of line with Him. As we respond to Him in submission and repentance, He will respond to us by revealing Himself in truth, granting forgiveness and a new start. One of the problems with sin is that we do not realise how blind we are, until the Lord points it out to us, often through a question – helping us to see our own blindness (Job 42:1-6). That is why questions are so helpful in personal conversation with our friends – that they may see themselves as God sees them and seek His mercy.

Dear Lord. Thank You for knowing all about me, and for your desire that I should not live in darkness at all. Forgive me for ignoring Your questions about my own life and for failing to ask people about their relationship with You. Please help me to be eager for You to lift any blindness I may have; and desire that You will also bring light to my friends and colleagues as I gently ask questions. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams