Acts 8:1–3 (ESV)
Saul Ravages the Church
And Saul approved of his execution.
And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
reading, Saul... who will later be called Paul, comes into the picture. Saul is educated, studied under a famous rabbi, and very convicted in what he believes. Saul does not believe in Jesus and see Christianity as a serious threat, a cancer, that
must be cut out. Saul will is willing to persecute Christians, especially after seeing Stephen stoned to death. Today’s reading says “Saul approved of his execution.” The persecution of Christians was very real and far reaching.
What was Saul’s role? “Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off the men and women and committed them to prison.” Saul was very active in the persecution.
I pray: O Lord, I know we live in a world that still persecutes Christians, especially over in the Middle East, China and North Korea. Help the Christians over there to remain firm in their faith and to be bold in their witness. Protect
them Lord. Help us to support them in getting the Word of God out to the people. I know we live in a country (USA) where persecution barely exists, but public perception is changing in a negative way here in America. Help us to be bold and
to stand firm in our faith. Where over seas, life is at stake, over here it is feelings. Help us to not worry about feelings and to reach out and share the Gospel so that others can be saved from hell. Help us to love all people. Amen.