Acts 9 … Consider His Antithetical Approach

Originally posted: 1/20/2020

Antithetical: “the nature of or involving antithesis: opposition; contrast; the direct opposite.”
Approach: “to set about; to make advances; to bring near to something.”

He is ever about bringing us near to Himself, advancing us towards His purposes. But to the natural mind, His ways are so contrary to our human reasoning. But He is God and His ways are supernatural, and they will never be anything resembling the natural.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts,”
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

Consider His Antithetical Approach

  • His Antithetical Approach in His Assessment: He Himself is the Persecuted One. Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. …and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting…” (9:1-5).
  •  His Antithetical Approach in His Acceptance: The murderer is chosen to bear His Name. But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;” (9:15).
  •  His Antithetical Approach in His Appointment: The privilege granted to suffer for His Name. “for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake,” (9:16). 
  •  His Antithetical Approach in His Assignment: The agent of death becomes His messenger of life. All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ, (9:21-22).
  •  His Antithetical Approach in His Adjustment: The persecutor becomes the persecuted. When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him… 29 And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death, (9:23, 29).
  • His Antithetical Approach in His Acts: The provision of His Peace and Comfort amidst persecution and crisis. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit… (9:31).
  • His Antithetical Approach in His Aftermath: The increase of His church as many believed in the Lord. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria … continued to increase… 42 It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord, (9:31, 42).

Aftermath: “something that results or follows from an event, especially one of a disastrous or unfortunate nature.”

His crucifixion seemed beyond disastrous. So unfortunate for those who had hoped in Him as their Messiah. The crucifixion event screamed defeat. But that was Friday, and praise God for that disaster! For by His death we are given Life. And by Sunday, He had conquered sin and death in His Resurrection. Oh the beauty of His Antithetical Approach!

How do we respond to His Antithetical Approach?

The truth is, He is not like us. He is the Antithesis of humanity steeped in darkness, for He is the Light of the world. He is high and lifted up, and therefore, there will always be much we will not understand about Him.

His Antithetical Approach may often leave us scratching our heads. But if we stay there, that is the perfect breeding ground for the enemy to sow his seeds of doubt.

I find comfort in the fact that His ways are not mine, that He is so much higher than my feeble thoughts and abilities.

When this life seems to scream out the antitheses to His promises, we can pray with childlike faith the words of King David.

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever,
(Psalm 131).

It’s not a cop-out to say we just aren’t going to concern ourselves with matters too great to decode; rather it’s laying claim to faith and trust in the One Who is faithfully working according to His perfect wisdom and will.

also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11).

Today let us intentionally and prayerfully commit to join Him in His Antithetical Approach, to live contrary to the ways of the world. He promises great reward when we do!

  • Be poor in order to become rich: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, (Matthew 5:3).
  • Serve in order to become great: But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,” (Matthew 20:25-26).
  • Lose your life in order to save it: And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it,” (Mark 8:34-35).
  • Die in order to live: For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (Galatians 2:19-20).
  • Be humble in order to be exalted: Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:10).

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich, (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Let’s Grow Together!

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