Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall. (Acts 9:22-25)
So the adventure begins. Being in Christ and having Christ in us is not going to be dull. Not ever. That’s because Jesus Christ is always controversial. He is not nice. He is not prim and proper. He does not support the status quo. He flies in the face of the religious establishment in whatever age we find ourselves. Being in Christ and having Christ in you is going to make you enemies, and your enemies will not be the bad guys; they will be the supposedly good guys. There are Pharisees in every age and the Pharisees will always be the ones in charge with the most to lose should the wind of the Spirit start to blow.
Saul switched sides and immediately started getting the same threats he was leveling merely days earlier. He was wanting to put Christians to death, and now it was his life on the line. Why did the Jewish leaders want to put him to death? Because his arguments were convincing. Paul was a great logician. He was convincing many Jews that Jesus was the Messiah and the leaders felt they had to silence him.
Unfortunately these are leaders who were not seeking the truth, otherwise they would have at least heard him out. They are leaders who were defending their own institution at all cost — leaders that held their ears and screamee lest anyone gives them information that would mess up their established system of beliefs. They were too bound up in traditional religion to hear anything new. The religious establishment that served and serviced them was more important to them than the truth.
Why didn’t any of them think to examine what Saul was saying? Because it would have been too costly to change. They would have lost their sacred positions in the pecking order of religious authority. Similar reasons many in Christianity are against the free flow of the Spirit today, and why millennials are questioning the church. The church is not making a path into the new frontier; it is traveling in the ruts of its past successes.
The Jesus freaks who shook Christianity to its core almost 50 years ago have watched the Christianity they influenced turn into the new establishment that once again needs a fresh wind. That’s why we are interviewing Jesus freaks on our BlogTalkRadio show right now, because they were the pioneers of a new movement and they did not sell out to what it became. They are Jesus freaks who are still freaky. We need to hear from them. Go back and listen to Barry McGuire if you want to see what I mean, or Randy Stonehill last Tuesday, or Paul Clark the week before. These are voices that have not compromised.
If you’re comfortable in your faith and you aren’t rattling any traditions or making any enemies or any waves, you may need to consider if you are in the right place. Think about following Jesus when He was here. Is there anything remotely comfortable about that? And how about the believers in Acts? I don’t see anybody napping.
In only a few short days, Saul made himself such an enemy of the Jewish authorities that his only way out of the city of Damascus was to be let down over the city walls in a basket because there would have been someone waiting to nab him at the city gates. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Let the adventure begin!