For the first time in our study we have come to a psalm that is a very close repetition of one we have already examined. The repeated psalm is Psalm 14, appearing again as Psalm 53, except for a few minor changes and the last three lines of verse 5. This suggests two questions: Why is it repeated? and What can I say about the psalm the second time?

I wonder if you have been confronted by the power of that resurrection. The chief priests and Pharisees tried to secure their ecclesiastical world against Jesus. Saul tried to secure his religious traditions and life. Satan had been trying to secure his evil kingdom. Perhaps you too have been trying to secure your own way of doing things or your own values or your own mastery of your time. You have heard Christ's gospel, but you have tried to keep it politely in its place. Jesus is not that easily contained. You push him back, but he comes forward again. You banish him but he intrudes when you are least expecting it.

There was another character who got into the act. In fact, he had been leading the battle against the Lord Jesus Christ for centuries. His name is Satan. We see him first in the Garden of Eden, where he tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and thus participates in the ruin of the race. We see him in Egypt and in other nations as they persecuted God’s people, through whom the Messiah was to come. At last we see him waging war against the incarnate Jesus.

So the first thing Saul was trying to secure was his Judaism. But there was also a second item that he was desperately trying to secure, namely, himself. Later his situation during this period was described as trying to “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14), like an animal fighting one who is prodding it to go in a right direction. This meant that, although Saul was fighting against the Christians with intense zeal, he was at the same time fighting an even more intense struggle within the secret chambers of his heart.

Well if the Jewish leaders did not fear the disciples, what did they fear then? I am sure they would not have voiced this openly, but in my judgment what they actually feared was the resurrection. After all, they were not imperceptive, and they had been observing Jesus for the better part of three years. They had seen him heal the sick, give sight to the blind, cleanse the lepers, restore strength to the impotent.