Friday, August 22, 2008

Acts 9:1-9

The conversion of Saul is probably one of the most written-about Bible passages. This is where you can truly see the omnipotence of God. This was no simple conversion. This particular conversion would change the course of the new church.

One of the reasons it was so revolutionary was due to the person Saul had become. He was a highly respected and highly feared member of the Sanhedrin. He was a devout Jew. His speeches and actions against the new Christians were designed not just to give this new religion a hard time, but to annihilate it. He was purposefully out to kill all of the Christians. Due to his standing not only in Jerusalem, but his reputation throughout the region, one outgrowth of his reign of terror was that he caused the new Christians, including the apostles, to scatter further away. This resulted in a faster and larger spread of Chrisianity. Also, due to his notoriety, his conversion was big, big news. It was like getting free TV commercial time during the Super Bowl half time show.

This was one of the most unique (if not THE most unique) conversion in the Bible. The apostles' "selection" by Jesus was entirely different and perhaps not even a conversion since Jesus was just starting his ministry when the apostles were selected. They really had no idea how their lives would change. In fact, they thought Jesus was just a little crazy when he told them about his pending death and resurrection. Paul immediately knew the consequences of his conversion and those consequences were iconoclastic.

There are many other points and issues that can be raised about this passage. (One of my favorite questions is what happened to the two guys that were traveling with Saul to Damascus? Weren't they Christian-haters, too? Did they convert with Saul?). That is why whole volumes have been written about it. It is my prayer and hope that in pondering this passage, your insights will help you develop a relationship with Christ that is just as unique and special as the relationship Jesus ultimately had with Paul.

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