9:1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
The case of Saul is an interesting one. Why would Jesus even bother with him? He was the most obsessed hunter of the followers of Jesus. He stood by holding the cloaks of the men on the council who stoned Stephen. He heard Stephen explain who Jesus was beginning with the writings of Moses. He heard Stephen explain how in every generation the true men of God were ridiculed, rejected, and even murdered. He saw the men of the council block their ears and attack him like madmen. It didn't affect him in a positive way. It didn't bring him to his senses. It had the opposite effect. He became determined, driven, obsessed to squash the entire movement. His goal was to extinguish the Name from the city of Jerusalem and eventually from the face of the earth. From house to house he went with a group of men hunting out any who believed in Jesus.
This Saul, the greatest enemy of the followers of Jesus was on Jesus' list as a candidate for His kingdom? Jesus was running towards him faster than Saul could run from him?
Clearly the love of God is far more radical than we comprehend. When He said "Love your enemies" He wasn't asking us to anything he wasn't willing to do Himself. Radical indeed.
Tomorrow we'll explore what it might look like to love our enemies. Love itself is a concept we barely understand...