Unstoppable! 'Persecuting the Church Is Persecuting Jesus' — Acts 22:6-9

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

[Paul continued his defense before the hostile crowd in Jerusalem:] "As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'

"'Who are you, lord?' I asked.

"And the voice replied, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, the one you are persecuting.' The people with me saw the light but didn't understand the voice speaking to me."

— Acts 22:6-9 NLT

Key Thought

Paul talked about this moment of startling and shocking revelation on the road to Damascus with these words:

But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles... (Galatians 1:15-16 NIV).

I cannot begin to imagine what Paul felt when this revelation of Jesus caused him to realize that the one he so passionately hated and the people he so viciously pursued were right and he was wrong — dead wrong based on Paul's past persecutions of Christians.* What we do know, however, is that Paul didn't dwell on his past but used this moment on the road to Damascus for a complete turnaround — the perfect example of the meaning of repentance. He went on to dedicate his life to advancing the message of Jesus and growing Jesus' people to become more like their Messiah, Savior, and Lord — Jesus the Nazarene!**

* See the first set of Related Scripture Readings.
** See the second set of Related Scripture Readings.

Today's Prayer

Father, I ask you to help me not to dwell on my past failures and regrets, but to use the power of the Holy Spirit to pursue Jesus, become more like him, and help others come to know him as their Savior and Lord. In the mighty name of the Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 7:59-8:3; 1 Timothy 1:12-17
  • Colossians 1:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 1:6-14

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 22:6-9 NLT — [Paul continued his defense before the hostile crowd in Jerusalem:] "As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'

"'Who are you, lord?' I asked.

"And the voice replied, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, the one you are persecuting.' The people with me saw the light but didn't understand the voice speaking to me."

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.