Have you ever had a time when reading a passage of scripture that you’ve already read many times when all of a sudden the Lord gives you an insight that has never struck you before?
That recently happened to me, and I am so impressed by it that I just had to share!
In church the other day, the speaker was talking about the Apostle Paul’s history. He read to us the passage (Acts 9:3-19) about Paul’s conversion. I have no idea how many times I’ve read or heard that passage read.
What struck me was that, in the light from heaven that shone around Saul, Jesus said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
Notice, He didn’t say, “Why are you persecuting My people?” He said, “Why are you persecuting Me?”
It reminded me of the passage in Matthew 25:37-40 when Jesus was telling His disciples about the coming kingdom. He said:
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
Also in Mark 9:37 He said, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
Sure, Jesus lives in each of us who know Him. I knew that. But it dawned on me that this is perhaps one of those deep concepts that we can’t really understand at a human level. What happens to us as believers is really happening to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
That thought gave me much peace. Why?
I am concerned for our society, our culture—well, really the world in which we live. Christians are being persecuted, all the way from bad things said about them to losing their lives because of their beliefs. I believe that this may be just the beginning.
I think we are probably headed toward harsher persecution in our own society. As our culture becomes more hedonistic and humanistic, more and more people will turn against those who stand on God’s word. That’s to be expected. It’s what has happened before in other civilizations.
Honestly, sometimes I get fearful about that. I’m not very excited about experiencing physical persecution. I have young grandchildren whom I don’t want to go through it either.
But what this little epiphany did for me was to remind me that no matter what happens to His people, Jesus will be going through it with us. He will actually be taking the brunt of the persecution, for He is really the one at whom the persecution is aimed.
What a great God we serve!
I know that God wants me not to respond in fear, but to trust Him because He is in control, He loves me, and He’s good. Sometimes I need to remind myself of these truths.