Posts Tagged ‘Edward Snowden’

Sermon 09-18-16: “Keeping the Promise, Part 5: Conversion”

September 24, 2016

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Saul of Tarsus was an unlikely candidate for conversion, a “hostile witness” against Jesus who had no prior reason to believe that Christ was resurrected before meeting him on the road to Tarsus. While Luke doesn’t present Paul’s conversion as a template for everyone else’s conversion, we all must be converted. This sermon explores a few things that our conversions must have in common with Paul’s.

Sermon Text: Acts 6:1-7

Filmmaker Oliver Stone has a new movie out this weekend about Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy and computer genius who leaked top-secret information a few years ago and fled to Russia. Right now, many Americans are arguing over whether Snowden is a hero, who deserves a presidential pardon, or a traitor, who deserves life in prison—or worse. One thing’s for sure: If he leaves Russia, he’ll be arrested immediately and brought back to the U.S. to face trial. If he stays there, he’ll be safe. The U.S. doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Russia. As long as he’s there, the Russians aren’t going to do anything to help us bring him to justice.

Believe it or not, something similar is happening in today’s scripture: A Pharisee from Tarsus named Saul has gone to the high priest in Jerusalem to get extradition papers to arrest Jewish Christians who have fled government persecution in Israel and are now living in Damascus. Saul is trying to extradite these Christians, to arrest them, and bring them to justice in Jerusalem.

These Christians didn’t leak top-secret information, obviously. But they have spread information that the government in Jerusalem considered very subversive: that this man Jesus, who was tried, convicted, and executed for treason and blasphemy, didn’t stay dead: he was resurrected instead, and now thousands and thousands of people are joining this Jesus movement known as “The Way.”

This movement must be stopped, and this man Saul, who later was re-named Paul, is just the man to do it. Read the rest of this entry »