Can God Change a Jesus Hater?
Can you think of any students or faculty on your campus that are strongly opposed to Jesus? It may be the outspoken atheist professor or it may be the students who laugh and mock at anything “Christian”. It could be someone that was hurt by a believer or one involved in a false religion or cult. No matter who comes to mind there are students and faculty that are opposed to Jesus. Some are in mind and others in outward action. The questions is, Can God change a Jesus hater?
In Acts chapters eight and nine we find a detailed description about a man named Saul. As we read and study about this man, we quickly realize he is a Jesus hater!
Acts 8:1, “And Saul was consenting unto his death.” He was urging with approval for the murder of Stephen for preaching about Jesus. Verse three says, “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” Havoc means to treat with injury or destroy. Haling is dragging people by force and violence. Saul committed breaking and entering, assault, and murder.
Acts 26:9-11 says “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”
Saul reasoned in his own mind justifying his thinking and actions. He was sincere and convinced about his belief and what he was doing. There are many today that think with themselves just as Saul did that:
- Jesus is not who He says He is- the Son of God.
- Jesus is not the only way to eternal life.
- Eternal life can be earned by good works or following the law.
- God will not send someone to hell just for not believing in Jesus.
In acts 9:1-6, we see Saul the Jesus hater is confronted by Jesus. In this confrontation Saul comes face to face with the one he was persecuting. He realized that Jesus is the Son of God. He believed on Jesus as his Savior and the Jesus hater turned Jesus lover. Saul realized he was wrong! As you read the rest of the New Testament, you will see how mightily God used Saul to see thousands upon thousands come to know Jesus as their Savior, start churches, go on mission trips, and write a large portion of the New Testament. Jesus’ greatest opponent became his biggest proponent! We praise and esteem the Apostle Paul but we must never fail to forget that the great Apostle Paul was the Jesus hater Saul.
What is your heart and attitude towards those hard cases on your campus or in your area? Are they just too far gone? Do you shy away from or not even attempt to engage these in conversation or to share the Gospel? If we think and act this way we underestimate the power of God. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation! God can and will save those hard cases, those Jesus haters. Jesus reminded his disciples in Mark 9:29, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Maybe we are the hinderance of Jesus haters turning into burning Jesus lovers because of our unbelief.
Who would be the hardest case on your campus? Will you pray, fast, and seek an opportunity to be used of God to share Jesus with this person?