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Acts 9:23-31, Saul Escapes from the Jews

Tuesday, April 17


Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.


Paul's ministry and mission were beginning to take off. His reputation as a ruthless persecutor and murderer of Christians preceded him, and he had difficulty shaking the perception. But he had Barnabas to vouch for his radical transformation. That in itself would have been palpable evidence that there was definitely something mystical and powerful going on with these Christians. Paul's words too, were fiery and persuasive -- so much so, Jews and non-Jews were both set on killing him. But he was on fire for the Lord, and nothing was going to stop him.

It can be extremely difficult to shake a bad reputation. But when one makes a dramatic transformation like Paul's, it doesn't take long before people really do begin to notice the change. People can't fake that kind of transformation for long. Soon people will see how very different they are from how they used to be. People -- at least, the people who are worth the time -- will give them a second chance, time to prove that they have truly changed inside and out. And when they don't, there's nothing more to be done than to move on to people who are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Life is too short to waste energy trying to prove something that can only be lived. If the transformed person is you, then go on living your life. The proof of your transformation will persuade others or it won't. Neither is within your control. All you need do is live your life as best you can and leave the rest of it alone.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 9:23-31

After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.