On a crowded London commuter train, an early morning rider shoved and insulted a fellow passenger who got in his way. It was the kind of unfortunate and mindless moment that usually remains unresolved. But later that day, the unexpected happened. A business manager sent a quick message to his social media friends, “Guess who just showed up for a job interview.” When his explanation appeared on the Internet, people all over the world winced and smiled. Imagine walking into a job interview only to discover that the person who greets you is the one you had shoved and sworn at earlier that day.
Saul also ran into someone he never expected to see. While raging against a group called the Way (Acts 9:1–2), he was stopped in his tracks by a blinding light. Then a voice said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (v. 4). Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The One speaking to him replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (26:15).
Years earlier Jesus had said that how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, and the prisoner reflects our relationship to Him (Matt. 25:35–36). Who would have dreamed that when someone insults us, or when we help or hurt another, the One who loves us takes it personally?
Father, forgive us for acting as if You were not present in our moments of need, hurt, anger, or compassion.
When we help or hurt one another, Jesus takes it personally.
Commentator William Barclay says, “One of the extraordinary things about the great characters in the New Testament story is that they were never afraid to confess what once they had been.” In today’s passage, Paul describes how Christ had transformed his life from someone who once persecuted Christ and His followers to someone who proclaims the truth of the gospel. His former way of life no longer defined him. A personal testimony is an effective witnessing tool. A simple way of telling our story is to write down answers to three simple questions: What characterized my life before receiving Christ? What were the circumstances when I chose to receive Him? How has my life changed since I trusted Jesus for salvation?