Persecuting Jesus

Text: Acts 26:14a
When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (NRSV)

Saul, who later became Paul after he became a follower of Jesus, is recounting his personal encounter with the risen Jesus.  Saul, who was a leader of the Jewish faith, found himself persecuting God in the Person of Jesus using the religion of God’s own chosen people.

What does it mean to persecute God—to persecute Jesus?  It means to take human derived teachings and traditions and misrepresent them as the way of God.  It means to take human contrived cultural do's and don’ts and represent them as God’s will and God’s way.  It really means a total disregard for the third commandment; “You shall not take the name of God in vain.”

To take God’s name in vain means to hollow out the truth of who God is and replace it with something that is not really God.  As with Saul and the religion he represented, Christianity has had its share of times when it persecuted Jesus.  Christianity has used God’s name in vain to promote purely human traditions like the Crusades, the Inquisitions, antisemitism, Manifest Destiny, support for slavery, and more.

Whenever we use God’s name to tear down others or to support our own quest for power and prestige at the expense of others, we can be sure that we are persecuting Jesus.  God’s call is always a call for a unity of diversity.  God’s call is always to love of neighbor.  God’s call is always a call to humility.  God’s call is always a call to serve others.  God’s call is always a call to the kind of freedom that can only come from knowing the truth.

In what ways have you used Jesus’ name to raise yourself up at the expense of someone else? In what ways have you used Jesus’ name to promote your own ambitions?  In what ways have you used Jesus’ name to insist on your own rights and taken power away from others? In what ways have you used Jesus’ name to approve your hatred of another?

If you ever have a question in your mind as to if you are misusing the name of God—if you are persecuting Jesus, ask yourself what Jesus listed as the most important thing.  The answer is easy, love the Lord your God with all that you are and your neighbor as yourself.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of grace, forgive me when I use your name for things that are anything but loving to others.  Forgive me when I use you for my own personal agenda especially when my agenda takes away from others.  Forgive me when I use you in ways that generate anger and hatred among the diversity of your created people.  AMEN.

Related Posts

No Comments





no categories


Anger Authentic Bible Body of Christ Broken world Centered Changed Child of God Chosen people Comfortable Discipleship Discipline Doubt Faith Following Jesus Generosity Gifts of the Spirit Giving God at work God's Glory God's call God's creation God's economy God's face God's leading God's light God's love God's plan God's presence God's voice God's ways God's way God's will be done God's will God's word God\'s Glory God\'s face God\'s leading God\'s light God\'s love God\'s presence God\'s will be done God\'s will God\'s word God\\\'s leading God\\\'s love God\\\\\\\'s love Godhead God Hands and feet of Jesus Hearing God Holiness Holy Spirit Jealous Jesus is Lord Jesus the healer Jesus Justice Kingdom life Kingdom of God Knowing God Laughter Light of the world Living Word Lord and God Lord Made new Newness of life Norms Obey Radical Transformation Recreate Refreshed Sabbath Sanctified Satan Saul Savior Seeing God Shalom Soulmate Spirit of God Standing before God Testify The Church The Gospel of Jesus Christ The Great Commission The family of God The new people of God The people of God Transformation Trinity Truth in love Truth Unconditional love Values Voice of God Weary Worship Written word abundance action affirmation anchor answered prayer anxiety arguments ask God asking God assurance attentive awe be ready believe born again born from above broken call to ministry calm caretakers celebrate children of God choice choosing comfort commandments community compassion confession conversation with God creation decision defending God dependent depression devotions direction discouraged distractions do no harm empowered eternal life evangelism evidence examine excuses expectations expecting God experience failure faint faithful fear finding God finding Jesus follow through forgiveness free from sin free will freedom gathered giving God the glory godly good news good works grace grief grieving guidance happiness hard hate healing helpless help holy living holy hope humility hunger injustice intentional intercesor intervene intimate joy knowing Jesus knowledge learning letting go life in the Kingdom life listening living looking for God love God love neighbor love self love loving God loving Jesus loving others mature meaning meditate meditation mercy ministry miserable mistakes motivation new begging new life overcome overflowing partnering peace persecuting Jesus persistence power prayer predestination priorities proclaim promises of God pure purity purpose real deal reconciliation recreated redeeming redeem refining refuge rejection rejoice relationship remember rescue response rest resurrection revelation righteousness risk rules sacrifice salvation sanctification scarcity scripture searching seeking God self-care selfish selfless servant servent service set apart simple simplicity simplify sinners sinner sin solitude spending time with Jesus spiritual disciplines spiritual exercises spiritual growth spirituality start over status quo stewardship steward storms stress struggle success suffering teaching temptation the unknown time with God tired together transfiguration trust in God trust understanding unexpected victory vision waiting on God walking with God wear out welcome wisdom witness wonder worries worry