“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.”
— 1 Timothy 1:15
Saul of Tarsus was born into a well-to-do family. His father was a Pharisee, and Saul followed in his footsteps. He was given the finest education. He was sent to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of Gamaliel. There he outstripped all of his countrymen in the religion of his fathers. He was blameless in the sight of men. He had a brilliant and quick mind.
When the crisis of Christianity broke in Jerusalem, he was the one who was going to be their champion. He persecuted Christians, hauling them into jail, torturing and killing them, and causing them to flee from the city of Jerusalem until there was now little fuel left for the martyrs’ fires that he wished to start.
He obtained letters from Caiaphas, who was still the High Priest, and set out to find and exterminate these Christians. He was, indeed, going to reverse the Great Commission. Jesus had said to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). Saul was going to go into all the world and make sure the Gospel would not be preached to any creature.
Shakespeare says in Hamlet, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them how we will.” Saul was about to discover that Providence as he set out to destroy the church. Christ transformed him on the road to Damascus and changed him into perhaps the greatest missionary ever—the Apostle Paul. When Christ truly changes you, you are not the same anymore.
Lord, You who changed Saul into Paul, thank You for the transforming power You have over human hearts. Thank You for making me Your child and using me in Your kingdom. I pray today for those I love, whose hearts are still unregenerate. Lord, save them…
BY GOD’S STRENGTH,
SINNERS ARE CONVERTED.