Acts 9:1-8 - But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
Jesus' conversation with Saul (soon to be named Paul) fascinates me. He asks him, "Why are you persecuting Me?" and immediately afterward repeats it: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." Clearly, Jesus takes the persecution of His believers very personally; to mistreat them is to mistreat the Lord. And in the same way, to help them is to help the Lord: "Whoever receives you receives Me ... Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward" (Matthew 10:40, 42).
When I think about that, it makes me feel shy and a bit embarrassed. Who am I, that Jesus should take my mistreatment as His own? It's not like I'm anybody important. But to Jesus, we are important, for we are the members of His body—His holy ones—His people. We are all of these things, not by anything we have done, but because of what Jesus did, when He died and rose for our sake.
But we are not the only ones He has done this for. Look at how He deals with Saul, the would-be murderer. Once Jesus makes His point about the true nature of what Saul is doing, Jesus moves briskly on: "But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." There's no more blaming, no more digging up the past. Jesus has plans for Saul, and He wants to get to them right away. Saul, too, will become part of Jesus' body—one of His saints—someone who "is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My Name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My Name" (Acts 9:15b-16).
Jesus' goal is always to add more and more people to the ones He has already gathered. He wants all of us—every single human being—to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. No one is too evil or too insignificant for Jesus to reach out to him. And no believer is ever overlooked or ignored by the One who loved us through death into life again. He loves you at the cost of His own life. You are wanted.
WE PRAY: Thank You, dear Lord, for wanting us and for giving Yourself to make us Yours. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you think Paul understood right away what Jesus meant when He said He was persecuting Him?
2. What do you suppose happened to the people Paul had brought with him to help do his dirty work?
3. What does it mean to you, to know that you are wanted by Christ?
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