Learning the Hard Way#1. “Humility—Saul of Tarsus.”

Learning the Hard Way#1. “Humility—Saul of Tarsus.”

If humility were a commodity on the stock market, its stock price would be so low that it would have junk-bond status. No one wants it! I challenge you to find a motivational book or speech that promotes humility as its key principle in these terms: Jesus, “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil.2:8).Outside of Bible-centred books or sermons, you won’t find it!

Saul of Tarsus believed himself to be a righteous man. He encouraged violent opposition to blasphemy, and in righteous rage he stood by and cheered on the stoning of Stephen. The destruction of this new cult of Jesus was going to propel his career forward amongst Jerusalem’s religious leaders. Seeing Stephen meekly take the stoning convinced him of his weakness. He was sure that he could make short work of the church’s demise. That day would haunt Saul for the rest of his life (Acts 22:20). But first Saul the Pharisee would have to become Paul the apostle. That process began ignominiously enough. The onlookers witnessed Israel’s next greatest thing fall off his horse, go blind, become involved in a mysterious and unintelligible conversation, and then have to be led by the hand into town.

From within, these were the events that challenged Saul’s religious beliefs to the core. Jesus was conducting a divine humiliation. Up until then, Saul believed that Jesus and his followers were enemies of God. He was faithfully helping God to eradicate them.Later this ‘helper of God’ would admit his former state of hopelessness before God when he wrote: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom.5:6). The champion defender of God’s wrath upon Christ and his Christians, would soon exclaim: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1Tim.1:15). That is Christlike humility worth investing in!

John Staiger


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