April 12, 2022
“Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days. Immediately, he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: 'He is the Son of God.'”
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“Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days. Immediately, he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: ‘He is the Son of God.’ But all who heard him were astounded and said, ‘Isn’t this the man who, in Jerusalem, was destroying those who called on this name, and then came here for the purpose of taking them prisoners to the chief Priests?’ But Saul grew more capable, and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that this One is Messiah.” Acts 9:19b-22
“When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how, on the road, Saul had seen the Lord, and that He talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.” Acts 9:26-27
The apostle Paul epitomizes the term “radically saved.” In a complete 180-degree turn, Saul, a persecutor of the Church for saturating Judaism with Gentiles and apostates, became “Apostle to the Gentiles.”
In Luke’s telling of the Acts of the Apostles, there is what writers call a “condensation” of time. That is, Luke often lumps together events to prove a greater point; he condenses time. The downside of this literary approach is that readers can be led to believe events and occurrences happened at a faster-than-normal pace. A more reliable real-time account of Paul’s conversion and ministry comes from Paul’s own words.
“But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus. Then after three years, I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him 15 days. But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. Now what I write to you, I am not lying. God is my witness.” Galatians 1:15-20
I mention this because verse 22 of today’s passage says, “But Saul grew more capable.” His growth was not attributed to his Pharisaical schooling or the Apostles’ teaching. It was directly from the Lord, as He revealed the Scriptures to Paul.
Our understanding of the Gospel, our ability to articulate, and our discernment of how and when to share is a process. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not the most eloquent evangelist today. Be encouraged to know that even great leaders like Paul had to grow into greatness. Simple prayer and Bible study diligence, matched by the revelation of God’s Word by the power of His Spirit, is the leadership catalyst for all believers.
Perhaps, that is why Paul said, “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy.” (God’s Word, revealed to you) 1 Corinthians 14:1 Ask that God reveals something from His Word to you today, and gives you someone to share it with.
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