One of the things I inherited from my mother is thinking out loud. This is why I enjoy studying the Bible with other people, because I often see things as I’m talking about a passage that I had never seen before. This morning a friend and I were looking at Paul’s speech to the mob after his arrest in Jerusalem. Unlike the first telling of his conversion story where Luke tells us what happened, Paul is speaking in his own words.
After his conversion Paul returns to Jerusalem and while in the temple has a vision. In the vision Jesus instructs Paul to immediately leave Jerusalem, because the Jews will not listen to him. Paul’s immediate response is not to go, but to argue with Jesus. Unlike Moses, Paul does not present Jesus with reasons why he is not qualified to go. Instead, he presents Jesus with all the reasons why the Jews will listen to him. His credentials are his intense persecution of Christians.
Jesus’ response is clear, “Go”. To Paul’s credit he went and the world was changed. He never lost his passion for the salvation of the Jewish people, and his current circumstances validated what Jesus had said. Why aren’t we willing to go when Jesus says go? My typical response is either I can’t do that or I’m afraid to do that. I wonder what would happen if I argued with Jesus like Moses and Paul? Their arguments certainly didn’t change God’s opinion, but the interaction seems to have changed theirs. They both submitted and went.