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Friday, January 28, 2011

"Why are you persecuting Me?"--Jesus Christ

"Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads."--Acts 26:14

"...I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads."--Acts 26:14.  This is a familiar passage to many of us.  Saul's (Paul's) description of his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus from Acts 9.  I have touched on the subject once before but tonight, I would like to look at a different aspect of it. Jesus asks Saul first why is Saul persecuting Him and follows it up with the statement "It is hard for you to kick against the goads." What kicking against the goads means is, according to what I learned in an Acts class, is that it seems Saul was reaching a point where he couldn't ignore the evidence that Christianity was real. Due to lack of time, I cannot describe goads (ox goads). But basically what I am saying is Paul may have had a strong feeling that he needed to turn his life over to Christ. Scripture does not tell us whether this is the case.  However, we do know it took a face to face encounter with Christ to shake Saul up enough to get his act together and go on to become one of the greatest gospel preachers this world has ever known.

It is hard for you to kick against the goads.  The theory is Paul was being stubborn. Given that he was the best of the best in Judaism, he was pretty set in his ways.  It seems there was a part of him that knew what was right yet he still chose to go his own way.  Until he was confronted with the question, why are you persecuting Me?  The text does not provide Saul's direct answer to Jesus' question. So I ask why was Saul persecuting Jesus? Maybe this was a rhetorical question, maybe not. But this leads me to ask why do WE sometimes persecute Jesus as Christians? What I mean is why does it happen ever so often that we choose our way over Jesus' way? Isn't that what Saul was doing? Something I don't think we realize is that every time we choose our way over Jesus' way, we are persecuting Jesus.  We reject Him when we go our own way in the same way He was rejected when He walked this earth.  I really don't know where you are at in your own walk with God. Maybe you are a Christian and have been persecuting Christ by going your own way rather than His since obeying the gospel. Or maybe you have persecuted Christ by not obeying His gospel as described in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 6:1-4 or Acts 2:36-39 just to name a few. As we go in to the weekend, let's look at every situation we come into and ask "What Would Jesus Do?" I know it sounds cliche but maybe it will help us to go HIS way rather than our own. After all, it is hard for you and for me to kick against the goads. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! PRAY ABOUT IT! LOVE Y'ALL GOD BLESS!

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