BOULOS, THE TERRORIST                    His Own Story
He was born in Turkey to a successful family.  So they were able to send him to the best
schools for the best education down in Palestine.  "I was advancing in my religion beyond many
of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers,"
 
he explains. [1]

Due to his high intelligence and extreme religious zeal, he was able to work his way up until, as
a very young man, he was chosen to be on the ruling council in his city.  It was during that time
that Christians began to infiltrate.  Something had to be done about these apostates.  Jihad
was declared.

“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the divinity of Jesus.
And that is just what I did."

His initial first-hand experience in killing Christians was when a Christian leader was stoned
to death.  He was proud to have been part of it.

He began to destroy the church.  Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women
and put them in prison.
[2]

"On the authority of the chief imam, I put many of the Christians in prison, and when they
were put to death, I cast my vote against them."

Still not satisfied with his part in putting down the malicious Christians, he explains, "Many a
time I went from one town to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to
denounce their new apostasy and return to the true faith."

His hatred for Christians continued to fester and grow.  "I was so obsessed with persecuting
them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities," he recalls.
[3]  "I was a violent man," he
readily admits.
[4]


"I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and
throwing them into prison.  I even obtained letters from the chief imams to their associates in
Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners.

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light flashed around me. I fell to the
ground and heard a Voice say to me, ‘Boulos! Boulos! Why do you persecute me?’   

Thrown off balance for a moment, he got control of himself and called back to the Voice to
identify himself.  "Who are you?" he demanded. He hoped he could flush out this trickster and
haul him away to prison ~ and of course death for daring to imitate the one and only God, the
ultimate of all blasphemies.

“ ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!’ he told me."

He was shocked.  No, this could not be!  He had always defended God against the people who
dared make Jesus God.  After all, God needs no partners.  He'd always been taught that.  God
is one.  His head reeled as he tried to grasp what was going on.  Was this a trick, or could it
possibly be the real thing?

Fighting his confusion and now visibly trembling, his knees gave way.  He fell the ground. Then
he looked up, straining to see what he could not see.  "What shall I do, Lord?" he shouted into
the light.  The Voice told him to go on into Damascus and there he would be told what to do
next.  

When the light disappeared, he heard the soldiers who were with him ask, "What was that
light?  What was that sound?"  But Boulos could not see them.  He was blind.  

"Get me to Damascus!  Hurry!" he declared, his arms outstretched, trying to touch someone
familiar.  "My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the
light had blinded me" he explains.
[5]


Once in Damascus, Boulos went into seclusion.  For three days he wrestled between what he
had always been taught was true, and what the Voice had told him was true.  Which was the
lie?  

His blindness:  That was a sign.   The Voice had to have been that of God.  Or was it?  How
could it be?  Didn't God realize that everything he had been doing was always in the name of
God, the one and only God?  Hadn't he been defending God all this time?

Refusing to eat, back and forth, back and forth he went.  Sometimes praying, sometimes
beating his fist on the floor, sometimes screaming uncontrollably with tears that everything
was going wrong.  Terribly wrong.  

Too much to bear.  What was right?  What was wrong?  What was truth?  What was a lie?  
He needed another sign.  He needed to know for sure if everything he had been doing for God
had actually been against God.  It couldn't have been.  But, what if....

In the mean time, a Christian elsewhere in Damascus ~ one of Boulos' would-be prisoners ~
heard the same Voice.  The Voice told him to go to Boulos.  He objected.  “I have heard many
reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people. And he has come here
with authority from the chief imams to arrest all who call on your name.”   His objections did
no good.  The Voice said "Go" and so the man went to Boulos.  "If I die, I die" he thought to
himself.
[6]

When Ananias arrived and saw Boulos was blind, he did what Jesus had taught, "Love your
enemies, do good to those who despitefully use you."
[7]  He went up to Boulos and gently put his
hands on him.  The blind man jerked back at first, fearful of what would be happening to him
next.  He backed against the wall.  Was it one of those Christians?  Was it his turn to be
imprisoned?  Instead, the Christian spoke to him softly.

“Brother Boulos, the Lord ~ Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here ~
has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Immediately, something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again.  Boulos had been
given his other sign.

He looked at the Christian.  He had questions.  Could he expect the Christian to actually know
the answers?   The questions began to flow.  What had he been doing?  Why were things going
wrong?  Could the Christians he had imprisoned ever forgive him?  Could God ever forgive
him?  What about Jesus?  Lord Jesus!  Lord Jesus? Was he really Lord after all?  Had he
really been God on earth after all?  

Boulos now recalls what Ananias explained to him.  “ ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you
to know his will and to see the Righteous One, Jesus, and to hear words from his mouth. You
will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard."

Change sides?  Is that what he needed to do?  Change sides?  Identify with the apostates?  
Become an apostate?

He continues, recalling what Ananias told him to do.  "And now what are you waiting for? Get
up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ "
[8]


Boulos knew he had to do it.  In his heart, mind and soul he knew.  They went out to the river,
walked out into the water, and Boulos was baptized....  

Now what?  What could he possibly do after his baptism?  All the Christians were afraid of
him.  He needed more time to sort things out.

"But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was
pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among all nationalities, my
immediate response was not to consult any human being.  

"I went into Arabia.  I did not receive the gospel from any man; rather I received it by
revelation from Jesus Christ."
[9]


"Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy
because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that
are in Christ Jesus.  Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

"But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus
might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and
receive eternal life.

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and
ever. Amen."
10]

_____________
[1] Galatians 1:14
[2] Acts 8:1-3
[3] Acts 26:9-11
[4] I Timothy 1:13
[5] Acts 22:6-11
[6] Acts 9:1-15
[7] Matthew 5:44
[8] Acts 9:17-19
[9] Galatians 1:16,17,12
[10] I Timothy 1:13-17