In the liturgical (church year) calendar, January 25 is designated as The Feast of the Conversion of Paul. Yet Paul’s experience is not a conversion in the sense of changing from one religion to another. It is a new understanding and new behavior. Before Jesus revealed himself to Paul, Paul persecuted Christians. On the road to Damascus, Paul recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel.
Martin Luther draws a connection between Jesus’ question to Paul: “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) and Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Remember that Jesus is speaking of feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and welcoming the stranger. Luther challenges us to look beyond clear examples of violent persecution and to recognize the serious impact of our actions and non-actions on others.
This message is excerpted from the “We are called!” Bible study by Kathryn A. Kleinhans in the January/February 2020 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate the Conversion of Paul. Today is the last day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
If you enjoy this resource, Donate Now.