From persecutor to persuader, the change is radical.
The man who once terrified the followers of Jesus now proclaimed his Lordship with great power.
How can it be explained other than God’s plans will be accomplished irrespective of our plans.
Saul was part of God’s plan; he was the instrument needed for the changes that were coming.
For now, he baffled the Jews in Damascus, releasing some into fullness of life and others into murderous rage.
His ability to persuade the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah had to be stopped. Theological arguments would not do it; they seldom do.
Firmly held beliefs are written in the stony parts of the heart and they will be defended at all cost.
His testimony was obvious. It could not be countered. Like Saul before his encounter on the road to Damascus, they felt compelled to silence him.
Saul had to die.
Firmly held beliefs can easily keep us from relating to Jesus or others who follow him.
When doctrine is more significant than people we may be missing the greatest call on our lives: to love God and those He loves.
Saul, who once breathed fury and hatred at Jesus and his followers, would eventually write,
“…I count all things loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things and consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8
And yet, in his passion to know Jesus Christ better, he never lost his love for the ones Jesus loved and died for.
“I have a great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those or my own race, the people of Israel.” Romans 9:2-4
Is this our heart? To love Christ in the fullest measure, but grieve the ignorance of our brothers and sisters to the point of our being willing to renounce the very thing that gives us life and hope, for the sake of those who have no life or hope?