A life changing encounter
It was more than just a dislike, he hated Christians. He had a plan that would hurt them and stop them spreading the message of Jesus. He’d got the necessary paperwork and was now about to set out on a mission to Damascus to arrest as many as he could and bring them back to Jerusalem.
Yet, by the end of that day everything had changed. By the end of the week he was meeting with Christians as one of them, no longer wanting to arrest them. It wasn’t long before he was out telling others the message of Jesus instead of hating the very mention of his name. By the time he returned to Jerusalem he was a Christian preacher, no longer a persecutor.
Who am I writing about here? It’s a man called Paul who we read about in the New Testament. He is a someone who ended up preaching the message of Jesus throughout most of Southern Europe and parts of the Middle East in the first century AD. He also wrote many of the books in the New Testament which is part of the Bible. Clearly, he became an influential Christian who was passionate about his faith in Jesus.
So, what happened to bring about this change? The Bible says that at some point on his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus Jesus met him. It was a dramatic encounter. The Bible speaks about a light and a voice from heaven that challenged what he was doing and, as a result of this, for three days Paul was unable to see. Yet, the circumstances are not the only drama. Paul’s life, his direction, his plans, his heart and so much more was changed forever.
I mentioned last month that this November we will have three Sunday morning services with the theme ‘Encounters: Meeting Jesus’. On each Sunday we are going to look at a passage of the Bible where someone meets with Jesus. The first will be Zacchaeus, a thief who regularly defrauded people. Next, we’ll look at Jesus’ meeting with a woman (we don’t know her name) who people looked down on because of mistakes she had made in her life. Then we’ll think about a rich man who came to Jesus with the questions of life and death.
In each of these encounters we see something of Jesus and the difference he can make in our lives. We’ll be thinking through how these things can affect us today. We will also being hearing from people in the church how Jesus has changed their lives. Why not come along and join us on these Sunday mornings? More info here.