The God Who Seeks

As humans, we have a tendency to think a little too highly of ourselves at times. Now granted, we have accomplished some amazing feats such as landing on the moon, inventing computers, creating nuclear energy, and making Oreos. On a personal level, we may encounter times when we think we are smarter, stronger, or better than we actually are. And in the Bible, we meet people a lot like us.

Acts chapter 7 ends with the stoning of Stephen, and we are introduced to a man named Saul. The jackets of the stone-throwers were placed at his feet as he gave approval of the execution. This event spurred on further persecution and Saul continued to lead the way as “he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:3)

Now you may be thinking, “I am not like Saul. I have never led the persecution of people, especially Christians.” Its true that we may not relate to his actions, but we can relate to his heart. You see, Saul was driven by self-righteousness, the belief that he was better at following God than others. This led him to cast judgment and abuse the power he had. It is this self-righteousness that we share, and it leads us further from God. 

As the church fled Jerusalem, Saul chased them. He obtained letters that granted him authority to arrest disciples in Damascus and bring them back to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2). So off to Damascus Saul and his self-righteousness marched until Jesus intervened. Jesus met him on that Damascus road with these words, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting … But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (Acts 9:5-6)

Let’s pause here for a second. Saul is living in complete opposition to Jesus, yet here Jesus confronts him with mercy. Saul is out to seek and destroy; Jesus shows how to seek and save.

What does this have to do with us? As we begin a new series on the gospel, it is important to know the gospel begins with God who seeks sinners. The gospel starts with God, His initiative, His plan, His mercy, His grace, His love, His Son. Although we may not sin exactly like Saul, without God’s intervention into our lives we too will stumble along in self-righteous condemnation. 

But God shows up because of who He is. So as we begin looking at how Jesus saved Saul, let’s start by humbly reminding ourselves that the gospel starts with God. We didn’t seek Him; He sought us. Will you take some time to thank God for how He has sought you out in life?

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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