Hate Fist11“I was blinded by the intense light and had to be led by the hand to Damascus by my companions. 12A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus. 13He came and stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And that very moment I could see him!

14“Then he told me, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. 15For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard. 16What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.’

17“After I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple and fell into a trance. 18I saw a vision of Jesusc saying to me, ‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem, for the people here won’t accept your testimony about me.’

19“‘But Lord,’ I argued, ‘they certainly know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20And I was in complete agreement when your witness Stephen was killed. I stood by and kept the coats they took off when they stoned him.’

21“But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’

22The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to shout, “Away with such a fellow! He isn’t fit to live!” 23They yelled, threw off their coats, and tossed handfuls of dust into the air.

24The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him lashed with whips to make him confess his crime. He wanted to find out why the crowd had become so furious. 25When they tied Paul down to lash him, Paul said to the officerd standing there, “Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?”

26When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and asked, “What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!”

27So the commander went over and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I certainly am,” Paul replied.

28“I am, too,” the commander muttered, “and it cost me plenty!”

Paul answered, “But I am a citizen by birth!”

29The soldiers who were about to interrogate Paul quickly withdrew when they heard he was a Roman citizen, and the commander was frightened because he had ordered him bound and whipped.

Paul before the High Council

30The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council.e He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them.

This is an extremely sad moment when you think about it.  You see, the Jews had a special relationship with God through the Old Testament covenant.  It was true, and they were proud of it.  The Gentiles did not have that special relationship.  In this case, they were perfectly willing to listen to Paul, until he starts to bring the Gentiles into a relationship with God also, then they riot.  They didn’t want to share their God, they wanted to hoard him.  They wanted others to be damned in hopes they would be more special.

How often I am like that.  Something good happens to someone else, or they get the same reward or recognition as I do, and for just a moment I’m indignant.  I see someone “get lucky” and have something good happen to them, and I wonder why them and not me.  Clearly we learn from this that we should be happen when God blesses another, even an enemy (or Gentile).  

I should never be saddened by another’s good fortune, and neither should you.

Lord, please make we want to see the world blessed by you and rejoice with everyone when they are blessed.