Blinding Re-alignment

Sometime between AD 15—20 Saul began his studies of the Hebrew Scriptures in the city of Jerusalem under Rabbi Gamaliel, in one of the the most prominent rabbinical schools of that day, founded by his grandfather, Hillel. Gamaliel was also the president of the Sanhedrin, a position he inherited from his father.

It was in this environment that Saul received his education in the religion of Judaism and became well versed in its dogma and law. Sometime during his educational years it was instilled in him a fervent hatred for Christ and His followers. This indoctrination set Saul up to become the perfect agent in the employment of the Sanhedrin against the Christians.

In the thirty something years that Saul was in Jerusalem, he would have made many trips throughout the Roman world working to arrest and testify against the followers of Jesus Christ. One such trip was to the city of Damascus, located 220km’s from Jerusalem. Saul was going there with the sole purpose of arresting the followers of Christ.

Luke (the writer of Acts) tells us that Paul took the initiative of going to the High Priest to ask for authority to go to Damascus to hunt out the Christians there. While on his way to Damascus, Saul was stopped in his tracks by a blinding light. What followed was one of the most dramatic conversions in church history. Right there on the road, Saul was confronted by Jesus himself.

“He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Acts 9:4-6

Saul of Tarsus became the apostle Paul, missionary to an unbelieving world and a fine example of faithful service in the face of fierce persecution. Saul’s education, his background as a Pharisee, his Roman citizenship, and his unflagging zeal all contributed to his success as a missionary, but only once those credentials and traits had been subjugated to the lordship of Jesus.

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