September 27, Thursday

Apostle Paul On Trial by Nikolai Bodarevsky, 1875. Agrippa and Berenice are both seated on thrones.

Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Acts 26:15.

Here Jesus Christ explained who He is in a terse, but meaningful sentence. In addition, He mentioned Saul’s hostility. “I am Jesus.” This is clear and readily understandable. Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and He is the Son of God. But He presents Himself as a Man, the carpenter from Nazareth, the rejected One, who apparently failed, being the Man of the cross. Now, however, He lives in the glory of heaven.

“Whom you are persecuting.” God’s finger is here pointing directly at Saul, implying: “Saul, do you realize what you are doing? Do you know who your hatred is directed against? You think you are persecuting and killing misguided persons. But they are my disciples, my followers. So you are persecuting me! They belong to me, to my church. And I put myself before them. I am the object of your fury and hatred. When one member suffers the whole body is affected. In that way you involve me by persecuting my church. Their suffering affects me and causes me to act against you” (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:26.27).

This response hit Saul hard, and changed him. It was power that stopped him and cast him to the ground. But it was love that overpowered him and made him change his ways. Jesus Christ loves His church, as He shows Saul here (cf. Acts 26:13-14; Ephesians 5:25). Even today people speak ill of Jesus Christ. They reject Him, blaspheme Him and His followers. and Christians are persecuted, as can be seen in many lands. But the One who tells any modern Saul, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” has never changed.

Image: By Nikolai Bodarevsky – [1], Public Domain,