I Am Jesus, Whom You Persecute (Acts 9:1-9)

by Kosuke Koyama

>Kosuke Koyama is John D.Rockefeller, Jr., Professor of Ecumenics and World Christianity at Union Theology Seminary in New York City.

This article appeared in the Christian Century, April 5, 1989, p. 347. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation and used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www.christiancentury.org. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


SUMMARY

An unexpected halt is a religious experience if it occasions a discontinuity in one’s identity. Discontinuity, whether spiritual or physical, presents a crisis, a moment of truth. Is not this what religion is essentially about?


Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues at Damascus, that would authorize him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.

Suddenly, while he was traveling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all around him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" "Who are you, Lord?" he asked, and the voice answered, "I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do." The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink (Acts 9:1-9, Jerusalem Bible).