Read Acts 26:12-18.

On the third day, Jesus walked out of His borrowed garden tomb, alive and well. The religious tried to stop the resurrection with seals and stones and soldiers. It didn’t matter; Jesus rose from the dead all the same.

Even so, opposition to the resurrection power of Jesus continued. Religious authorities, political leaders, and others tried to silence Jesus’ followers and put a stop to the spread of the Gospel. One such enemy of Christ was a young Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus. He rose to prominence and found a measure of fame because of his hate for Christian believers who kept on proclaiming the resurrection. He intimidated the believers, imprisoned many, and even oversaw the murder of a deacon in the church at Jerusalem named Stephen.

Saul was determined to stamp out Christianity, not just in Jerusalem but across the whole region. With permission from the high priest, he pursued believers all the way to the city of Damascus in Syria—a long way away.

However, all was not as it seemed. Inside Saul of Tarsus a war was raging. In fact, his outward resistance to the resurrection can only be explained by his inward struggle. Jesus knew this, and so while Saul was traveling to Damascus, the Lord blinded the young Pharisee and spoke to him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). Saul was hurting himself with his hatred of the resurrection, so Jesus, in His mercy, stopped Saul in his tracks so that he could change course for good.

You see, prior to that divinely appointed day, Saul had wanted his religion to seal his heart from the resurrected Jesus. He had tried to fortify his heart with his false religion and religious activities. He attempted to muffle the voice of the resurrected Jesus with his good deeds. But finally, when faced with the Truth—Truth he could no longer deny—he had to submit; he had to surrender.

When Saul met the risen Christ, he couldn’t resist asking, “Who are You, Lord?” You can ask that same question, and the Lord will answer you. You will never find real peace of mind—you will never experience true freedom from sin and guilt and shame and addiction or be assured of eternity in heaven—until you submit to the risen Lord. Don’t put it off. Right now could be your Damascus Road moment!

Prayer: Jesus, I want You to be King of my life. I don’t want to fight against Your perfect will for me. Empower me by Your Spirit to live as a citizen of Your heavenly Kingdom today for Your glory and the blessing of those in my midst. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads’” (Acts 26:14).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Stopping the Resurrection?: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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