I’ve been watching another movie specifically about the life of Saul, the disciple also known as Paul in the bible. The movie demonstrates who Paul was before he became a disciple and decided to follow Jesus Christ. It shows how Christ changed his life from that of a blood-thirsty murderer and persecutor of those who followed Jesus, to someone who became devoted to spreading and sharing the gospel after he, himself, was converted.
Paul had a vision and was struck blind on the road to Damascus. Everything changed for him from that day forward. He knew then that this man known as Jesus Christ was real. Jesus asked Paul, why Paul was persecuting Him. I can only imagine the shock and awe of that moment! In the bible, Paul is telling the story of that moment to King Agrippa:
“I used to think that I had to do a lot of things to oppose the one named Jesus of Nazareth. That is what I did in Jerusalem. By the authority I received from the chief priests, I locked many Christians in prison. I voted to have them killed every time a vote was taken. I even went to each synagogue, punished believers, and forced them to curse [the name of Jesus]. In my furious rage against them, I hunted them down in cities outside [Jerusalem].
“I was carrying out these activities when I went to the city of Damascus. I had the power and authority of the chief priests. Your Majesty, at noon, while I was traveling, I saw a light that was brighter than the sun. The light came from the sky and shined around me and those who were with me. All of us fell to the ground, and I heard a voice asking me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me? It’s hard for [a mortal like] you to resist God.’ “
I asked, ‘Who are you, sir?’ “The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus, the one you’re persecuting. Stand up! I have appeared to you for a reason. I’m appointing you to be a servant and witness of what you have seen and of what I will show you. I will rescue you from the Jewish people and from the non-Jewish people to whom I am sending you. You will open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from Satan’s control to God’s. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and a share among God’s people who are made holy by believing in me.’
“At that point I did not disobey the vision I saw from heaven, King Agrippa. Instead, I spread the message that I first told to the [Jewish] people in Damascus and Jerusalem and throughout the whole country of Judea. I spread the same message to non-Jewish people. Both groups were expected to change the way they thought and acted and to turn to God. I told them to do things that prove they had changed their lives.” – Acts 26: 9-20
Look at Paul! He was as wicked as they come. Think about the many saints of God Paul tormented and had killed. Why did God choose this individual out of all people to become someone infamous who would minister to others and eventually die a martyr for Christ?
Paul was a devout Jew, who loved Jehova, but wasn’t a loving, gentle person. He wasn’t humble or Christ-like by any means. If Jesus could change and convert somebody like Paul, imagine what Jesus can do in our lives. Imagine how He can change us so that we are the best we can be!
Paul was made a Christian by Divine power; by a revelation of Christ both to him and in him; when in the full career of his sin. He was made a minister by Divine authority: the same Jesus who appeared to him in that glorious light, ordered him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. A world that sits in darkness must be enlightened; those must be brought to know the things that belong to their everlasting peace, who are yet ignorant of them. A world that lies in wickedness must be sanctified and reformed; it is not enough for them to have their eyes opened, they must have their hearts renewed; not enough to be turned from darkness to light, but they must be turned from the power of Satan unto God. All who are turned from sin to God, are not only pardoned, but have a grant of a rich inheritance. The forgiveness of sins makes way for this. None can be happy who are not holy; and to be saints in heaven we must be first saints on earth. We are made holy, and saved by faith in Christ; by which we rely upon Christ as the Lord our Righteousness, and give up ourselves to him as the Lord our Ruler; by this we receive the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. The cross of Christ was a stumbling-block to the Jews, and they were in a rage at Paul’s preaching the fulfilling of the Old Testament predictions. Christ should be the first that should rise from the dead; the Head or principal One. Also, it was foretold by the prophets, that the Gentiles should be brought to the knowledge of God by the Messiah; and what in this could the Jews justly be displeased at? Thus the true convert can give a reason of his hope, and a good account of the change manifest in him. Yet for going about and calling on men thus to repent and to be converted, vast numbers have been blamed and persecuted. [Acts 26:12-23 ] (Source)
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
- Who Am I? And Am I A Disciple? (chrislong.org)
- Time to Shut “Faith-Gate”….Again! (revkennydickson.com)
- The Radical Enthusiasm for Sharing the Faith Which Paul Radiated Is at the Heart of This Year of Faith (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)