Saul was a real up and comer for the Jewish leadership. He was trained by Gamaliel the renowned Rabbi-(who incidentally entreated the Jewish leadership to stop the persecution of the church). After watching the stoning of Stephen, he saw a way to distinguish himself.
Paul became rabid. He went door to door throughout Jerusalem arresting both men and women. The church was literally scattered to the wind. But, like most seeds scattered by the wind, the message began to be planted and took root outside Jerusalem. Another of God’s busboys, Phillip went to Samaria. While there, he began to preach the word boldly and heal the sick make the lame to walk and drive out demons. It never would have happened without persecution.
In our lives, we all hate pain, suffering, trials and struggles. We want to wake up to a world of rainbows and unicorns. Truth is, however, that in this life there will be troubles. It is how we respond to the trouble that sets us apart. We can bring a message of hope and joy to a world filled with chaos and emptiness. We have to first believe God, when He tells us He has a plan and will work through us. Like Phillip, we have to overcome our fear of persecution and cling to our hope of glory. Then, like Phillip, we can rise above and truly impact lives!
God Bless You
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.