Saturday, November 15, 2014

What a Jewish Convert Says About Jesus

NOTE: Direct quotes and summaries of Paul's conversion from Acts 9:1-19; retold in Acts 22:6-21 and Acts 26:12-18. His writing about Jesus is located in Philippians 2.

Some of His Preaching Started with a riot.

As Paul preached about Jesus and that Salvation was for the Gentiles as well as the Jew, the people began to riot and seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple. They were beating him until the commander of the garrison and soldiers intervened.

The commander put Paul in chains, and then asked what he had done.

The crowd cried one and thing and then another. They sought to kill the preacher.

Paul said, "I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people."

When he received permission, When there was a great silence, Paul spoke in Hebrew, although he also knew Greek,

"I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the law, and was zealous toward God as you are today.

"I persecuted this way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As the high priest bears witness and the council of the elders, I went to Damascus to bring in chains those who were to be punished.

"As I journeyed near Damascus at about noon, a great light from heaven shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice: 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'

"I said, 'Who are you Lord?'

"He said, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.'

"Others with me saw the light, but did not hear the voice. I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?'

Paul continued: "The Lord said, 'Go into Damascus and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.' Since I couldn't see for the glory of that light, those with me led me into Damascus. There Ananias, a devout man according to the law, came to me and said, 'Saul, receive sight,' and that same hour I looked up at him.

Ananias prophesied that the Lord chose Paul to be His witness and baptized him as Paul called on the name of the Lord. Paul repented on the spot, mentioning that he'd persecuted those who believed in Jesus, and held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death.

Paul told how the Lord said Paul would take the gospel to the Gentiles.

The crowd tore their clothes and threw dust in the air. "He is not fit to live!"

Many beatings, chains, but successful and miraculous spreading of the gospel, fast forward to Paul in the Philippian jail where Saul, whose name was changed to Paul wrote: "Let this mind be in you who also are in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming  in the likeness of men.

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

"Therefore God also has highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus... every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

After persecuting the church, Paul gave his life for Jesus, which still is a testimony for God's love for man and Salvation and forgiveness of sins once for all by Jesus' blood. Plus because He rose from the death, we can live forever!