Remembrance: The shared life can be a death to us.
Acts 22:19 ‘“Lord,” I replied, “these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you.”
The Lord wants Paul to leave Jerusalem quickly because He knows the Jews will not accept the gospel. He wants Paul to go to the Gentiles. Paul objects.
Today is remembrance Sunday here in the UK and the Commonwealth nations. Services are held to commemorate those who died in the 2 World Wars and subsequent conflicts. There will be thousands and thousands standing together in memory of those who shoulder to shoulder died for their country: together on the battle field, together in the grave and together at the cenotaphs. It will be once again a moving show of unity.
Paul’s objection is based on a similar expected show of unity. He had been one with these people. He had been on their team, alongside them, in fact leading the way in destroying the followers of Jesus. He had shared the cause. Even though he now knows how wrong he was, Paul thinks that this shared past experience will be enough for him to convince them of the truth. He is obviously wrong.
A shared experience does not mean you will walk together forever.
When my parents left a church organisation that our family had been in for many years we were rejected by many, even from members of our family. I watched as a teenager how they went through those difficult years of being isolated and talked about by those they had shared life with only weeks previously. They did it with dignity.
A shared experience can build formidable barriers to anything new.
Don’t be surprised if longstanding friends reject you because you have found something new worth living and dying for.
Christ above all else.