Day 149: More of the Details of Paul’s Conversion

Acts 26:9-18 :

“I myself most certainly thought that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem. I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them. Punishing them often in all the synagogues, I tried to make them blaspheme. Being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

“Whereupon as I traveled to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, at noon, O king, I saw on the way a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who traveled with me. When we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

“I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you; delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Paul was very qualified to explain what the Jews were doing to him because he had done same thing to other Christians. It would have been difficult for King Agrippa to find a better expert witness! Paul said about his persecution of Christians that he “tried to make them blaspheme” and that he was “exceedingly enraged against them.” Paul confessed before the court that he wrongfully imprisoned Christians and voted for their deaths. I think that Paul knew that if there were any reason for him to be killed, one of those reasons would be better than that he claimed to be a believer in the resurrection of the dead.

The Bible is amazingly accurate and has built-in copies of things said. This is the third time in this book that we have heard Paul’s conversion story.

Notice how clear God’s instructions were to Paul. He was to tell them about the things he had already seen and “of the things which I will reveal to you.” Notice that Jesus Himself speaks of the things that some claim that Paul wrote differently from Jesus. Jesus speaks of “remission of sins” and “those who are sanctified by faith in” Him. These are Jesus’ ideas not Paul’s and it is very wrong to try to say that Paul didn’t write down what Jesus wanted us to know. Notice that Jesus clearly states that the Gentiles are to be brought to Him. Also, Jesus tells us that people are both ignorant and under the power of Satan. Before we believe, we think that things are fine and under our control, when actually we are ignorant and under the control of an evil person every day. Jesus’ revelation that He gave to Paul can free us from this tyranny. Paul ended up writing many books in the New Testament and all of them are important for us to read in order to learn what Jesus wants us to know. Romans is the first book, as you read through the Bible, that Paul wrote. It is a great book to learn about the fundamentals of Christianity. It’s important to remember that Jesus Himself is the source of this teaching and that He wanted us to know and live by what Paul said.