Encounter

Encounter

If you read any of Paul’s epistles it’s easy to see that he had a one-track mind after he met Jesus Christ. What an encounter he had! You can read about his encounter with Jesus in Acts chapter 9. It wasn’t that Paul was blinded that made the most impact on him, though it certainly got his attention. Paul, after his encounter with Jesus was overwhelmed; not by the situation, not by the circumstance but by Jesus Himself!

Paul initially did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but when he met Jesus, that all changed. When Paul met Jesus he had to deal with him the same way everyone does as described by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. This paragraph in Lewis’ magnum opus has been distilled down by many as “liar, lunatic or Lord.” This is how C.S. Lewis describes how people must, or must not, view Jesus:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” This is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising [sic] nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”[1]

Every encounter with Jesus Christ demands a response.
The encounter Paul has with Jesus is one that affects him in such a way that the rest of his life will be telling others about Jesus that they may have an encounter with Him too. Paul knows if they do, like him, they will never get over it. No one who has a true encounter with Jesus will ever get over it. No one walks away from Him thinking He’s no big deal.
That’s why Paul preached, wrote and even endured trial, affliction and persecution the way he did. His encounter with Jesus changed his purpose and life-direction. That’s why he tells the Ephesians to pray this way: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.[2]

You may not have been blinded by a light when you met Jesus for the first time, as Paul was, but your encounter with Him was, no doubt, just as overwhelming; wasn’t it? So, what’s your response been? In all of history, since Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, the response has been to leave all to follow Him. Don’t think that your response should be any different. Are you still overwhelmed by Him? If not, take a look at Jesus again. He’s still incredibly beautiful and overwhelming. You won’t get over Him!


[1] C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. p. 52

[2] (Ephesians 6:18–20, ESV)

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