The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Saul’s work in Damascus was apparently quite effective. Acts 9:23-25 speaks of the results of his consistent and persuasive message about Jesus. What happened? After a while, “the Jews” decided to take him captive. No doubt, the Jewish leaders, who would have initially agreed with Saul’s plan to arrest and imprison the Christians, were hostile toward his message of Jesus as Lord. The result made it clear that Saul would either have to leave Damascus or be imprisoned.
We find, then, that Saul became a Christian refugee. He needed to leave Damascus. Jerusalem would not be safe. He couldn’t leave in public. That would risk pursuit and imprisonment or death. In fact, he was beginning to suffer for his Christian faith, just as Ananias had told him he would. The Christians in Damascus smuggled Saul out of town in a basket.
The Christian life is a life which is open to enduring suffering. It may prove painful. It may be full of dangers. Though there is no guarantee that the Christian will be threatened with arrest, it’s a possibility. Over the generations, many Christians have escaped from town in baskets, barrels, hay-wagons, or the like. And many have not escaped their pursuers. While many Christians don’t endure this kind of suffering, some do. Every last Christian confesses that Jesus is the savior who has even overcome death. The call to Christ is a call to die to ourselves and live to Christ. This is what the Lord requires. May he have mercy on us all.
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