Hate unbridled and unchecked is a murderous thing.
Hate in name of God is terrifying and terrorizing thing.
And as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, hate in the name of God is indeed a terrorizing thing because such religious hatred is actually viewed by the hater as a righteous thing.
Just ask a certain Pharisee—emphasis upon that lofty religious title, Pharisee, since it goes to the very heart of this story—named Saul. Yes! Saul was a Pharisee.
On the night before He was executed, as Jesus and His now-eleven disciples were slinking through the dark alleys of Jerusalem, literally one step ahead of His betraying-disciple Judas, the Temple guards, and the Roman cohort that Judas was leading to arrest and ultimately to crucify Jesus, Jesus made this chilling statement which should have given His disciples pause, assuming that in that desperate hour they had presence of mind to pause.
It’s found in John 16:2, where Jesus said this:
“The time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.”
A prediction, a prophecy that has historically come to pass in our day—the bitter result of religious extremism—far too many times to count. Bloodshed in the name of God. Be that blood shed at the hands of the Christian Crusaders, Muslim suicide bombers, or a now-ranking member of Sanhedrin—keep that label in mind; it too goes to heart of this story—Saul.
From where did Saul’s unbridled fury, his murderous hatred for Jesus and all things Jesus-related come?
Tonight, we will consider together much of what is often overlooked in any discussion about Saul-to-become-Paul’s background.
All of which will expose the degree to which God went when preparing His “Apostle to the Gentiles.”
Indeed, Paul will write in wonder in Galatians 2:8,
“For by God’s power I was made an apostle to the Gentiles.”
That power was clearly at work in Paul’s/Saul’s past. And as you are about to hear, that power was equally at work in Saul’s present here in Acts 9.
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