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  • Writer's pictureChristy Schuette

AFTER

June 13


I Kings 11-12

Psalm 71:17-34

Proverbs 15:27-28

Acts 9

AFTER

 

“But Saul grew more capable and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that this One is the Messiah. Then Peter sent them all out of the room.  He knelt down, prayed, and turning toward the body said, ‘Tabitha, get up!’ She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.  This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”  Acts 9:22, 40, 42 HCSB

 

In the account of the stoning of Stephen, we find this sentence, “And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” Acts 7:58 (HCSB) This scene must have haunted Saul, who later became Paul, for the rest of his life.  He stood by, giving approval, as they stoned Stephen.  No one else who was there that day is mentioned, but I think this sentence is included for the same reason that the passage about Peter denying Jesus is included.  In His infinite mercy, God wants us to know that no matter what we do, no matter how bad our sin, we can always come back, and He welcomes us with open arms.  Not only does He accept us back when we mess up, He can still use us.  God used Peter to start the early church AFTER he denied Jesus three times and He used Paul to spread the gospel to the Gentile world and to write a large part of the New Testament AFTER he persecuted Christians.  Acts 9 gives us evidence of His work in the lives of both men.  The chapter opens with Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus followed by his complete transformation.  It outlines his journey from persecutor to disciple and reveals a man who had a personal encounter with Jesus and then was used by God in a powerful way.  The latter part of chapter 9 looks at Peter’s ministry.  While going from town to town telling people about Jesus, we also see that Peter was able to heal the sick and he raised a dead girl to life.  AFTER his failure, we see a man who was transformed by Jesus and then was used by God in powerful ways. 

 

If the Bible was filled with stories about all the people who were holy and followed God perfectly all their lives, it would be a work of fiction.  Instead, it is filled with stories about real people who messed up a lot.  There are stories of men who committed adultery, murdered, lied, stole, were jealous, prideful, deceitful, and unfaithful.  It is filled with stories of people just like us.  Not only does it tell us about their sin, but it also reveals what happened AFTER they messed up.  If they repented and turned to God, He forgave them.  They faced the consequences of their actions, but then He restored them and continued to use them.  He wasn’t done with them.  We also see examples of men who did not repent and experienced God’s wrath instead of His mercy.  His work in our lives is not based at all on our virtue or ability, but on His mercy and grace and on our willingness to submit to Him. 

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