SAULO: FROM PERSECUTOR TO PERSECUTED
Text: Acts 9: 1-6
Saul, still breathing threats and death against the disciples of the Lord, came to the high priest, 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found some men or women of this Path, he would bring them prisoners to Jerusalem. 3Mas going along the road, it happened that when he arrived near Damascus, suddenly a glow of light from heaven surrounded him; 4Y falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? 5 He said: Who are you, Lord? And he said to him, 5 He said, Who are you, Lord? And he said to him: I am Jesus, whom you persecute; It is hard for you to kick against the sting. 6 He, trembling and fearful, said: Lord, what do you want me to do? And the Lord said to him, Get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you must do.
There is a marked and substantial difference between being followed and being persecuted, the one brings personal satisfaction, while the other brings frustration, the one brings strength and encouragement, but the other discourages and weakens.
In the Christian life we must be clear that occasionally we will be the object of persecution for the sake of the Kingdom of God, but also the Bible says that sometimes those who persecute us today, can become our best followers tomorrow, let's see how, studying Pablo's model:
Verse 1 says that Saul breathed threats and death against the disciples, what does this mean? It means that his heart was filled with hatred towards them, and therefore he led a great persecution against the church.
Note then something important, all persecution against someone has a particular motivation, hatred. The pursuer ignores that what drives him to such an act is nothing other than his uncontrolled hatred towards his victim.
Then it is something clear, the one who follows you is someone who loves you and respects you, but the one who persecutes you is someone who does not respect you but who also hates you.
Paul persecuted Christians because his heart was full of hatred towards them, only that his hatred had a characteristic was a religious hatred.
There are different kinds of hatred that in turn are motivated by different causes or reasons, but the most dangerous of all is religious hatred, because this hatred is justified in one argument, God.
So dangerous is the religious hatred that the whole world remembers the famous Catholic religious crusades at the time of the Inquisition, where thousands and thousands of innocents were murdered in the name of religion.
Paul had this same problem, he gave free rein to the feeling of hatred justifying it in the name of religion.
Consider this: hatred, anger, resentment, revenge, all these feelings are children of a father called pride, hatred, anger, resentment and revenge, are but faces of a character called pride and haughtiness
So Paul's real problem was not hatred but pride, his whole life was prepared for a religion and he could not bear that the new faith in Jesus Christ had as much success as he was having, pride awakened in him, hatred, revenge and persecution.
Now let's see how the persecutor became a follower vs. 3 But going down the road, it happened that when he arrived near Damascus, suddenly a glow of light from heaven surrounded him; 4Y falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
This is the part that the persecutor Saul of Tarsus did not know, when he persecuted the Christians he did not do it to them, he did it to the Lord, this is what many persecutors do not know, but it is the part that you and I can not ignore, when we are persecuted for the sake of the Kingdom, they do not persecute us but the Lord.
The persecution and hatred unleashed against us is not against us, but against the cause of the Kingdom and against the Lord of that Kingdom.
When Paul was on his way to Damascus to take prisoners there, the Bible says that a shining of light appeared to him that surrounded him and made him fall to the ground.
This was the reason why the persecutor became a follower, a glow of light came upon him that made him fall to the ground, it can not be established with certainty whether the animal that Paul was riding was a horse or a camel, but whatever were the animal, the light made him fall from it.
There is only one way for pride to be defeated and dominated and it is through prostration, hatred, resentment, anger and revenge would only disappear if pride is defeated and that is exactly what the Lord did, but for doing so brought him to the ground.
When the human being rides on the horse of pride, the only way God has to help him is to knock him off that horse.
The prostration is the antidote to pride, the human being has the tendency to look down when he is on high, but humility teaches that the higher reaches the man more must look up.
When the church shines, it is possible that it does not know it, or that its consciousness of it is very poor, but whether it knows it or not, its condition is invincible, its persecutor will not be able to oppose it, because its radiance will make it prostrate and defeat.
Paul and all those who, like Paul, rise up against a church that has learned to shine, will only have one fate, fall prostrate before it.
There is no horse, no army, no authority to prevail against a church whose life shines with the glory and holiness of its Lord.
Finally, let's see what he says vs 8 and 9 Then Saul got up from the ground, and opening his eyes, he saw no one; So, taking him by the hand, they put him in Damascus, where he stayed three days without seeing, and he did not eat or drink.
The glow of light, more than pulling him off the horse and prostrating him on the floor, says that he left him blind and could not see anything.
There is a difference between having sight and having vision, Paul in his pride had sight but had no vision, when he fell prostrate he lost his sight but regained vision, to the point that he said Lord what do you want me to do?
Pride takes away your vision, but prostration gives it back, Pablo could not see with his eyes, but for the first time in his life he knew perfectly where he should go.
Not only do the churches that shine make their enemies prostrate and give vision to blind eyes, but also some of their persecutors make them followers.
When Paul told the Lord what do you want me to do? What is really telling you is: Lord I will follow you wherever you go, no matter how much it costs me or how much I have to suffer, I will follow you.
If you are ever persecuted for the sake of the kingdom of God, do not worry about defending yourself, just worry about shining, why the churches that shine, prostrate and blind your persecutors and if it is God's purpose, then turn your persecutors in followers.