Acts 7-9: What Do You Do When You're Wrong About Jesus?

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 journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute 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."

Acts 9:1-6, RSV


Just imagine what Saul must have felt like. He was a devout Jew and he certainly believed in the promised Messiah, but he definitely didn't believe that Jesus was that Messiah that all of Israel had been looking for. Since Saul did not believe, he did everything he could to wipe out everyone who followed Jesus. He had just gotten finished helping others who did not believe in Jesus put a Christian named Stephen to death, and he was anxious to continue his purge of all who followed the one whom he believed to be a false Messiah.


That's when it happened! On the way to Damascus where he intended to find other followers of Jesus to have them thrown in to prison or worse, Jesus appeared to him. And His appearance was so convincing, that it was obvious to Saul that he had been wrong about Jesus all along. But, what could he do now? He already had innocent blood on his hands so surely Jesus would not want him of all people to become a disciple. But if that is what Saul was thinking, Saul was wrong.


You see, Saul was very sincere in his service to God, he just didn't think that Jesus was His Son. So when he found out that Jesus was indeed God's Son, Saul repented. The word "repentance" means to turn around, and that is exactly what Saul did. He turned from his error of persecuting those who followed Christ, to actually following Christ himself. In fact, it was Jesus who commanded him to do so. And Saul, who though a bit slow to realize the truth, could not deny that truth when he came face to face with it.


And in this story, we find out one of the most beautiful things of God's grace. Regardless of how wrong and evil we have been, He will still allow us to repent. Saul (who was soon to become the apostle Paul) did repent and the rest is history.


What about you?


One more thought: Had Saul not repented, despite the powerful effects of God's grace, Saul would have still been lost forever. For while God will allow us all to repent, as long as we have the breath to do so, He does require that repentance in order for us to be saved.


The reading for these three days is the 7th through the 9th chapters of Acts. They tell us all about just how much God is willing to forgive, if we will simply repent and turn back to Him.