Wrong about the resurrection1
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
- Acts 9:1-2
Saul’s activities made perfect sense in his social perspective. A Galilean rebel almost sparked a violent revolution before masterful political maneuvering by the Jewish elites got him arrested and executed. Those who followed that revolutionary persisted in their commitment to him even after his death. They remained a threat to decency and good order. Someone had to deal with these followers of Jesus.
Sure, Saul took it in an extremely violent direction. But if you dig a little you can find a half-dozen or so reasons why he did it. Use your imagination.
Everything Saul did was predicated on the conviction that Jesus the revolutionary was dead. He made assumptions about Jesus’ identity, Jesus’ presence, and Jesus’ status. Each of those assumptions would be proven wrong. And when they were, Saul’s life would change (and so would the world).
He thought Jesus was just a revolutionary. Revolutionaries revolt and win and lead. Or they lose and face exile or death. Jesus died. So, he must have lost.
Saul thought Jesus was dead and buried. Maybe Jesus’ disciples stole his body. But Jesus was G-O-N-E … gone.
And, finally, Saul thought Jesus was just a normal man. Maybe an extraordinary man. But certainly not the Son of God.
The resurrection of Jesus changed everything, as Saul would discover.
Take a minute today to think through the following question: how would your faith be different if Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead?