This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Paul: Why do you persecute me?

Devotions

In 1985, Steve looked like a failure. He was a college dropout and had been fired from a good job. Nothing he tried seemed successful—the government rejected his job application, no one wanted to hire him, and people thought the products he tried to sell were too expensive. Twenty years later, Steve—Steve Jobs—was recognized as one of the most influential people in the world in the fields of computing, design, marketing, movies, and music.

Paul was an incredibly unlikely choice to become one of the most influential Christians in the world—the man who would write letters that comprised almost half of the New Testament and who planted churches across the Roman Empire. Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 26:5; Phil. 3:5)! He was full of zeal—against the followers of Jesus! Our text today describes him as “breathing out murderous threats” against believers (v. 1). In the previous chapter, he was present when Stephen was martyred, and he approved (8:1).

On the road to Damascus, Jesus asked Paul a question that transformed his life: “Saul, why do you persecute me?” (v. 4). Paul entered Damascus intent on having believers in Jesus arrested; he ended up preaching in the synagogues “that Jesus is the Son of God” (v. 20). He thought he would stamp out a heretical sect who opposed the law of God; he ended up being filled with the Spirit of God (v. 17). He thought he was protecting the religion of the Jewish people; instead he was called to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles, including their leaders.

It’s also worth noting the obedience of Ananias in this passage. He had every reason to fear Paul (vv. 13–14). But he obeyed God’s command to go to him and serve as the instrument of God’s healing.

Apply the Word

Who seems to you like an unlikely servant of God? Is it a wayward child? Someone in a different political party? A celebrity who is outspoken against Christianity? Pray today for that one who seems like an impossible candidate for having a life transformed by faith in God. And pray that the Holy Spirit will show you how to be obedient like Ananias and be an example of God’s grace.

BY Heather Moffitt, Managing Editor

Heather Moffitt has served as managing editor of Today in the Word since 1999. She loves working with the talented team of writers, editors, and production staff to ensure that insightful devotional studies reach our readers each month. Heather also loves running, whitewater rafting, travel, and singing in a Gospel Choir.

Find Daily Devotionals by Month