“What Saul Saw When He Couldn’t See” Oct 9, 2022
“What Saul Saw When He Couldn’t See”
There’s a TV series that’s been on NBC for a few years now called ‘This Is Us.’ Margie got me started on it and even though there aren’t any big car crashes or alien invaders, I’ve come to appreciate the characters and casting and, most of all, the excellent writing. Let’s face it: in a drama, if the writing isn’t good, it can be painful. Last week, there was a scene where two of the brothers were talking. The wild, impetuous brother was looking to his more stable and mature brother for advice about the mess he had made of his life, and what followed was some of the best writing I have seen in a long while. The wise brother paused for a bit, and then he said: “Do you remember the four years in a row that the Buffalo Bills went to the Super Bowl and lost every time? (1991-1994) Sure, everybody remembers that. Now, when a team is going to the Super Bowl, vendors will manufacture tens of thousands of T-shirts for both teams declaring them the winner of the Super Bowl that year so that when the moment comes they can have them ready to go. My question is: what happens to all those T-shirts from the team that lost? Do they just throw them away? Recycle? Reprint? No, they ship them overseas and believe me, there are millions of people in Africa and Malaysia and Indonesia that can’t wait to get their hands on this valuable piece of American sports memorabilia. But here’s the thing: if you were to ask certain folks in any small village in Uganda or Kenya or even in, let’s say, Borneo who won the most Super Bowls in the early 1990s, they’re going to answer with a big smile on their face, ‘The Buffalo Bills,’ and there’s no amount of explaining you can do to convince them otherwise.”
“So what’s that supposed to mean?” said the other brother.
“What’s it mean?” he said. “It means that the world is crazy. People are going to think and do all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons. It’s up to you to sort it all out. It’s up to you to get to the truth.”
Today we’ve heard Luke’s account of the conversion of Saul, later known as Paul. It appears, evidently, that somehow Saul had bought himself a T-shirt that declared all Christians to be the scourge of the earth, and he took this little bit of information quite seriously. So much so, that it became his life’s work. And Saul was good at it. The mere mention of his name would send Jewish people who believed in Christ running for the hills. Saul was called, you might say, to defend the established order of things. He was called to defend the rule of law – the law of Moses. Saul was called to do everything in his power to discredit this man called Jesus of Nazareth and if that meant throwing every single one his followers in prison, then so be it. So yes, Saul was on a mission – a mission he believed was from God alone – until on the road to Damascus with a fist full of open arrest warrants in his hand, he was called by Jesus with the simple question, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” I’d like to think that he answered, “Because it says right here on the T-shirt,” but of course that’s not the case. Instead, he said, “Who are you, Lord?” to which Jesus replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”