Reading: Acts 1:4-5, 7-8; 9:4-6, 11-12, 15-16; 18:9-10; 20:35; 23:11; 26:14-18
Summary: When we think of Jesus’ words and where to find them in the New Testament, it is obviously to the Gospels that we turn. But we do find several instances of Jesus’ words being quoted and even statements from Jesus after He had left earth. Consequently, several quotes from Jesus are found in the pages of Acts. So our reading today—the last of two months of readings about the life and ministry of Jesus—is a collection of His own statements recorded in Acts.
A Valuable Lesson
Have you ever had a life-changing day? A day that, based on its events, would leave your life forever different? Maybe the day you met your spouse or got married or your first child was born. Maybe the day you made a decision or had an accident or someone died or were introduced to Jesus or whatever.
Let’s go with that last one for a moment. That was the day Saul of Tarsus had. The day he met Jesus radically and permanently changed him and everything about his life. Given who he was, what he had become, and what he was doing—especially the to the degree and intensity—his conversion is rightly seen as a primary evidence, second only to Jesus’ resurrection, for the validity of Christianity.
With all of that in mind, consider two of the great lessons learned that day by Saul. First, the fervor and passion with which we believe we serve God is no verification of God’s acceptance of what we’re doing. Unquestionably Saul exceeded all others in his zeal to fight these followers of Jesus whom he believed opposed God (see Gal. 1:13; Acts 9:21; 26:10-11; 1 Tim. 1:13). Also unquestionable is that Saul was absolutely wrong about this.
Second, Saul learned that how one treats God’s people, the church, is how they treat Him. The question that stopped Saul in his tracks on the Damascus road was, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). What Saul was doing to Christians he was doing to Jesus. We would do well to remember this in our dealings with brethren.
What we learn from our encounters with Jesus should, as with Paul, change us forever.