All the Changes#5. “An Unbelievable Transformation!”

All the Changes#5. “An Unbelievable Transformation!”

What do you do when the staunchest enemy of Jesus wants to visit your church this Sunday? Saul of Tarsus, the ambitious Pharisee who hated Christians enough to approve their murder, was well known to the church. Now he claimed to be a Christian! If ever there was a day to skip services with a ‘cold’ it was the one when he was most likely to turn up. It didn’t matter that there were reports that Paul had become a Christian and met with the saints in Damascus; it put no minds at rest.

It was Barnabas who had to intervene. On the strength of his righteous reputation, Barnabas secured a meeting between Paul and the Jerusalem church leadership. If Paul had learned anything from his Damascus Road experience, it was that it took a miracle to change his mind about the church of Christ. He fully understood the reticence. The mind formerly fixated on destroying the teachings of Christ had undergone an unbelievable transformation. The meeting was a miraculous intervention, but he chose the transformation. He could have just as easily rejected Jesus’ offer.

I wonder at the shock that Paul felt when he suddenly realised that his core beliefs were all wrong. It was no wonder that Jesus blinded him. He needed to be blinded so that he could take time to come to grips with his former darkness.

It would be interesting to know if anyone had been praying for Paul’s soul while he was terrorising the church. If there was anyone, he would not have thanked them for it—until he met Jesus face to face. An Unbelievable Transformation became Believable.

The greatest menace to the Lord’s church became its greatest minister. Paul said ‘Yes’ to Jesus because he knew how much Jesus had done for him: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus” (1Tim.1:12-14).

John Staiger


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