June 20th 2009

The Way

2 of 12 weekly studies taken from Acts 7 to Acts 14

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.  He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
Acts 9:1-2 (NIV UK)

Saul was determined to stamp out the New Testament church, and the high priest in Jerusalem gave him letters of authority to arrest the followers of Jesus.  In those days the Romans allowed the Jewish leaders to have a degree of judiciary power.

Did you notice the reference to “the Way”? Men and women of the Way.  It sounds almost sectarian to us, maybe cultish, perhaps derogatory.  It was meant to indicate those who had chosen a different spiritual path from the established views.

Thomas, one of the disciples, asked Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No-one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:5-6).  Thomas thought in terms of a destination.  Jesus explained it is the way that matters, pay attention to the way and the destination will work out.  Follow Me, says Christ, there is no other way.

Religious people had talked of the Way for centuries: the way of righteousness, the way of God, the way to salvation.  Now this new sect had turned the world upside down and taught that the Way was actually a man, and His name was Jesus.  The writer of the book of Hebrews explained it like this, that Jesus is “the new and living way” (10:20).

Much later, Saul confessed, “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison” (Acts 22:4).

Little did Saul know, at the beginning of Acts 9, that his life was about to change forever.  He too was about to become a follower of the Way.  That’s what happens when Jesus intervenes and touches our life.  Everything begins to change.

Glorious Father, let your Holy Spirit guide me at all times to follow Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Study by james.henderson@wcg.org

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