Sunday, February 8, 2015

Saul of Tarsus was a brilliant man.

He had the best education for the times,

He spoke Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.

He was a great orator, drawing big crowds when he spoke.

He also loved Jewish Law with a passion.

Saul was a Pharisee, being groomed to rise high in their ranks.

Pharisees were like religious police, jury and judge for Jewish Law.

They would go out and look for people breaking
 any of the over 600 Jewish Laws
 including those related to food and Sabbath. 

And after the Crucifixion of Jesus 

The Pharisees were determined to exterminate His followers 

and crush the fledgling Christian Church.

And Saul was very good at this.

He found Christians, 

Accused them

Brought them to Trial 

and oversaw their execution.

We know specifically Saul was there when Stephen was stoned to death.

We don't know how many others' deaths could be attributed to Saul.

Saul was widely feared.

Perhaps you know the rest of the story.

Saul was on his way to Damascus

To root out Christians and execute them.

And on his journey, he met Jesus.

(see Acts 9)

Saul was brought to his knees and heard Jesus ask him:

"Saul!  Why do you persecute me?"

Saul's life was changed forever.

He became one of the greatest men in all of World History

and did more to spread and promote and strengthen

 the Christian movement 

than anyone before

 or since.

We know him by his Greek name, Paul.

At first the Christians did not believe in his conversion.

It must be a trick.

A way to catch them in the act.

But slowly Paul convinced them and grew to lead them.

Paul's radical change from persecutor to prophet

brought many people to Christ.  

Imagine being a Jew who admired Saul, as many did.

To see this conversion you would have to think

 this highly intelligent man went mad,

or he was telling the truth

And Jesus is Lord.

Paul could not have been as powerfully persuasive

if he had not been Saul, Persecutor of Christians.

The Christians who died, and their families that grieved 

would never know the greater good that was to prevail.

God  took these acts of evil for and made them for His good.

Paul was a much more effective and powerful promoter of Christianity

Because people knew what he had been

and what he had done.

We see so many evil acts in the world today.

We are bewildered 

We don't understand.

And maybe we never will

We may never live long enough to see how

God will takes today's acts of evil

and make them for

His Good.

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