Sedulous Saul Sees the Light

I had always been deligent about everything that I did especially concerning my religion.  When a new cult appeared that seemed to challenge the tenets of my faith, I immediately resolved to wipe out this “Jesus Movement” even if I had to do it single handedly.  I went from house to house dragging out both men and women to have them beaten and imprisoned.

When I heard that the cult had spread to Damascus, I was furious.  I got letters from the high priest to visit the synagogues there.  As I was riding to Damascus, an intensely brilliant light suddenly shone down blinding me.  I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me?”  I answered, “Who are you, Lord?”

The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

I could not have been more surprised.  “What do you want me to do, Lord?”

“Arise and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”

I rose to my feet but though my eyes were open I could see nothing.  At the same time my spiritual eyes had been opened.  Scriptures from the scrolls came to my mind.  Jesus had fulfilled them!***  He WAS the Messiah.  I had been persecuting Him when I dragged those believers off to jail.  In my religious zeal,  I had been on the wrong side!

I wondered what was to become of me.  If Jesus was God, and I had been attacking His followers, what would He do to me?   I knew that punishment was coming.  Surely I would never see again!   Perhaps my life was about to be extinguished.  I shivered in fear.  Tears of repentance ran from my sightless eyes.  Was there anything that I could do to thwart the Lord’s anger?

For three days I had been sitting in darkness in a house in Damascus awaiting my fate, when suddenly the silence was shattered by a knock at the door.  A man named Ananias came in.  I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was afraid of me–probably one of those “believers” that I had intended to arrest.

“Brother Saul,” he began.  He had called me “brother!”  I knew all the followers of Jesus considered themselves to be part of the Lord’s family.  Did this man somehow know that I had repented–that I now believed in Jesus?  “The Lord Jesus has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  He placed his hands on my eyes.

Immediately, something like scales fell from my eyes, and I could see!  They took me out to the river where, at my request, I was baptized.  Then we all returned to Judas’ house where a large meal had been prepared.

The Lord had forgiven me!  The believers had forgiven me!   Inwardly I vowed that they would not regret it.  I promised from this moment forward to promote the cause of Christ as diligently as I had opposed it!  The very next day I began to preach!

***

Postscript: Paul kept his promise.  He wrote most of the New Testament and faithfully peached and until the time of his martyr death for his faith.

***The Old Testament Prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus included:   Genesis 3:15, Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14 , Genesis 12:3, Isaiah 9:1,2,7, Isaiah 53:3, 12 and many more.

A Boy Becomes King

Based on 2 Kings 11:1-13:13

Joash sat with his head in his hands in the corner of a small room.  He was dressed in a robe crafted of the finest purple cloth that almost completely covered his play clothes.  Around him on the floor were small carved animals, some toy bricks, and a few balls.  When the seven-year-old stood, he walked with a royal bearing as though he was aware of his linage.

A knock at the door sent his nurse scurrying to the other end of the room where she unlocked a door that led to a dark passageway.  At the other end of the passageway was another door.  Another gentle knock.  The second door was unlocked.  That door opened into a beautiful bed chamber, the bed chamber of Joash’s aunt, Princess Jehosheba.  Years earlier she had saved Joash from the mass slaughter of all the males of royal blood.  She had hidden Joash in a secret room that had at one time been a part of her own bedroom.

There were some excited whispers:  “Here is his breakfast.  Jehoida, the priest, says to have him ready in an hour.  The priest has a contingent of our finest officers ready to protect him.  When their shift is over, they will come here to usher Joash to the temple where he will be proclaimed king.  No detail has been overlooked.  Yes, I am certain that the boy will be safe.  Our kingdom will soon be freed from that witch, Queen Athalia.”

The nurse placed Joash’s breakfast on a little table.  He sat down and began to eagerly eat.  He had been given grapes and figs in addition to his usual share of the princess’s breakfast.  “What is happening, Nana?  This beautiful cape, and now this delicious breakfast.  Am I going to go outside to play with the other children?  Please, Nana, please.”

The nurse smiled broadly at him.  “You are going to leave this room, and you will never return!  You are about to become king!  Do you know what that means?  You will be making all the laws.  You will decide what the rules are.  However, you must be careful to do only as Johoiada tells you to do until you reach the age of eighteen.  You will need to continue to do your lessons so that you will be a wise King.  Most importantly you will need to learn to hear from God.”

“Do you know why your father, Ahaziah, was killed?”  Without waiting for an answer she continued, “It was because he did not follow the Lord’s ways.  He was twenty-two years old when he became king, but because of the evil that he did he was only king for one year.  God did not protect him.  Then your grandmother took over as queen.  She has not followed the ways of the Lord either so God will not protect her.  She wanted you killed so we hid you here.  No one has known that you are alive except for me, your aunt, Jehosheba, whose bedchamber is just outside your door, and Johoiada, the priest.  This morning, Johoiada told the soldiers who guard the temple about you.  They are ready to give their lives to protect you.  Will you promise to obey Priest Johoiada and the Lord, your God?”

Little Joash slipped out of his chair and knelt beside it.  “Lord, God, I want to make you happy.  I want to obey you.  I want to serve you.  I want to be a good king.  I want to live.  Please help me so that I will be a good king for my people.  And please protect me.  Thank you!”

There was another knock on the door.  Joash was ushered out of his tiny room to the magnificent temple by fifty of the best soldiers in the land.  When he had been brought to the front of the temple, Johoiada put a drop of oil on his head (symbolic of the Holy Spirit) and anointed him to be king.  A beautiful crown, sized just for him, was placed on his head.  Then the entire assembly clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”  “Long live the king!”

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Postscript:   Wicked Queen Athalia lost her life on the day that Joash was crowned king.  Joash reigned as king with God’s protection for thirty-seven years.