July 18, 2018. Believers who successful travel the Road to Emmaus next travel the Road to Damascus. This road may as well be called the Road from Persecution to Proclamation.
Some travelers with misdirected religious zeal, some are just part of the crowd, some expecting there is more, and others are mere onlookers.
Saul, of Tarsus, following his own agenda, journeyed the road to Damascus. His goal was to purge the city of Christian heretics. Paul had a goal, though a misguided one. He traveled alone, at the front of the guard detail. Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, would not mix with the ‘”ordinary” people. The trip from Jerusalem to Damascus was 140 miles and required about seven days to complete. It was in the heat of the day and the passion in his mind that troubled him. He could not get the stoning of Stephen (the first martyr) off his mind. He recalled how he watched over the robes of those stoning Stephen. He, like Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare play, could not wash the guilt away. Stephen’s last words, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them,” haunted Saul. His trouble mind was unable to reconcile the paradox, how could a man, as he was dying, ask forgiveness for the people stoning him to death.
“And as it came about that as he (Saul of Tarsus) journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:3). Evidently, though Paul committed to a goal, it wasn’t God’s goal, but Paul’s goal.
Many believers who successfully journeyed the Road to Jerusalem and the Road to Emmaus start on the Road to Damascus with zeal or an attitude of doing things for God. The problem being the traveler determines his / goal. Often, the strategy is based on what they like, when they want and how they are involved. Decisions are based on what they think is best for themselves.
Events change when the “inner voice” speaks, and we, like Saul, must ask, “Who art Thou, Lord?” God’s answer to the question is, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting but arise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do (Acts 9:5, 6). Not only are you told what to do you are EMPOWERED to do it!
God commissions Believers on the Road to Damascus. His command is to put love into action. Witness in words and deeds. A journey on the road to Damascus includes an encounter with Jesus and ends with Him designating a task for you. The journey may begin with, what you want to do and ends with what Jesus Christ wants you to do—witness to people through loving them.
Abraham, following God’s command, traveled through Damascus on his way from Ur to Canaan. Abraham stepped out in faith. He went forth at God’s command. Travelers on the Road to Damascus who obey Jesus’ command to “Go Forth,” move forward to travel the exciting and rewarding final spiritual road, The Road to Jericho.
The best travel is yet to come. It’s not the easiest or most comfortable, but the Road to Jericho is where the Christian walks with God.