Read: Acts 8:1-4
But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. (v. 3)
I am a lifelong Christian, and I have lived a quiet, peaceful life. I haven’t experienced persecution, and I have experienced freedom and justice in my country, but this is not the experience for all of Jesus’ followers.
Just as Saul “ravaged the church” by forcefully entering homes and dragging off Christians into prison, similar things happen today. Tens of thousands of Christians are martyred for their faith every year. We live in a violent world. And the stark reality is that the main character of our devotions this month was initially a violent persecutor of Christians. These folks had done nothing wrong except believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Saul had progressed from a passive observer at Stephen’s death to active persecutor of Christians.
We may not be guilty of violent persecution like Saul, but all of us, before we met Christ, have lived in opposition to the gospel. Without the Savior, all of us are capable of doing terrible things. Saul needed Jesus. He needed the one he was persecuting. When he realized that, and Jesus took over, great change came in his life. In the case of Saul, God took the greatest persecutor of the church and made him its greatest missionary. —John Koedyker
As you pray, recognize your sins, but praise God for how he miraculously saves us.
About the Author
Rev. John Koedyker has been a pastor in the Reformed Church in America for more than forty years. His ministry began in Japan where he served as a missionary for ten years. After that he has served churches in Iowa and Michigan. He has served as the Stated Clerk of Muskegon Classis, RCA, for the past sixteen years and also presently serves as pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. John has written a number of times previously for Words of Hope and he has a bi-monthly religion column in the Grand Haven Tribune. He is married to Marilyn, and they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.