And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Acts 9:5
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” Saul was a man that had great hatred for Christianity. Saul was a great persecutor of those first brethren…
“As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” Paul went out causing many of the saints to flee and fear for their lives… Entering into their houses! Attacking families and haling them to prison. Why is it that nobody stopped him? Don’t we have the right to stop someone that would break into our homes, intending harm for our families?
And he shall judge among the nations,
and shall rebuke many people:
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruninghooks:
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
The early church understood the new covenant. There was now Hope for all men. God no longer wanted us to commit violence, but rather to turn the other cheek. Imagine if one of those first Christians HAD raised the sword against Paul…. Where would the Church be? God had plans for Paul.
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus:for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way:for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Blessed are the peacemakers… God, help us to be your hands and feet. To turn the other cheek. To love instead of hate. To be the examples of Christ in our age. Give us this zeal of the early church. Do a work in our generation, that we be not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds. In your Son’s name, Jesus Christ. Amen.