In our Old Testament reading today we witness the complete and utter rejection of Saul as king. “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me, and has not carried out my commands,” said God. Even Samuel was angry.
In Acts we deal with another Saul – the one who becomes Paul. It is here we come to understand the power of the gospel message. Now Saul has been converted, and is preaching in Damascus. “Damascus” is code word for expansion. If the good news can get to Damascus, a hub of trade, politics, and culture, then it can get to Antioch, to Rome, and to any corner of the earth.
The other power is in Saul’s story itself. Here was a man who persecuted Christians. He never met the earthly Jesus, who lived and walked in Galilee. He was not one of the original disciples. And now he is hanging out with the disciples, and increasing in power and “confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.”
If the good news has that kind of effect of Saul, certainly the “Jesus factor” is high enough to affect distant lands. We as the readers bring the power of this home. Here we are, 2000 years later, in a distant land on a distant shore, and we are reading of the tale of the one they called Messiah, following him too.
The evangelization of the four corners of the earth continues. The questions still come: “And who am I called to spread the good news to?” What words from God will fill me? What will I say? And in our postmodern context professing Christ as Lord has unique challenges. Radiating the love of God to others is as challenging as ever. Or is it?
We radiate the same love of God in Christ as Saul did 2000 years ago. We do our part and watch the miraculous power of God move.