Paul was chosen by God. Jesus told him that he was appointed “as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:16-18).
Once his sight is restored, Paul begins to preach. He doesn’t wait. What does he preach? Everything that he had previously stood against:
…that Jesus was the Son of God, the anointed King of Israel
…that Christ was the true representative of God and God’s chosen Son
…that He was the Son who was perfect in obedience, the ultimate revealer of God, and the authorized agent for God
Paul accepted the claims of Jesus and the church, the very thing he had sought to destroy. Saul suddenly shifted his loyalties from Gamaliel and the Law and it baffled those who heard him. This was the man who had raised havoc in Jerusalem. He came to Damascus to take prisoners back. They were baffled as Paul stood there proving that Jesus was the Christ. Paul had come to kill…he had come presenting letters of authority and demanding the extradition of the followers of the Way. He came as a man with a commission issued by the high priest’s authority.Â He left as a messenger of a higher authority, THE AUTHORITY…of life. He left Damascus filled with the Spirit…filled with words of power and life.
But, along with his calling came suffering. He was imprisoned, beaten, exposed to death again and again. He was stoned and left for dead. He was shipwrecked, in danger on rivers…from bandits…from his own countrymen…from his enemies. He went without sleep, left in the cold and naked. He knew hunger and thirst. He learned what it meant to suffer! Was it worth it to Paul? He wrote near the end of His life: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). It was all worth it to Paul…is it worth it to you to lose everything in order to gain Christ?
Written by Marji “Mike” Kruger