Re:Verse reading–Acts 9:1-22, 26-31 (day one)
“Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord”–v 1
It is a memory Paul carried for the rest of his life. Shameful. Cruel. Convicting. Obsessive. (“I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man” he would say years later in 1 Timothy 1) A reminder to him (and to us) how lost people are without Christ. Even religious people.
Did he ever wonder? I wonder. As he watched Stephen die with love and forgiveness, did Saul have a moment of self-doubt? Did he momentarily recognize the demonic power of hatred at work in his own heart? How empty and angry he was?
Years later, this same man (reborn) will plead with others. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves.”–2 Corinthians 13:5. Maybe, as he wrote those words, he was remembering how easy it is to think you are one thing and actually be another.