Cover to Cover
Apostle Paul (Saul) becomes born again in chapter 9 with an intense transformation from death to life. Before Christ, we can see that Saul was passionate about God the Mosaic Law. He was imprisoning Christians because he thought it was the right thing to do.
Saul is his Hebrew name. Paul is his Roman name. It was not uncommon to have dual names when dealing with different groups of people. Unlike Peter, whom the Lord changed his name from Simon, the Lord did not change Saul’s name. We just see him using Paul when he is around the Gentiles. Saul means “desired, asked for.” Paul is a Latin name, similar to Saul.
When Jesus appeared to Saul, He asked him, “Why are you persecuting Me?” When someone persecutes a Christian, even with contrary words, that persecution is actually coming against Christ Himself.
Jesus also says, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Goads were rods that a person would use to steer an animal from going off the path. The Lord was trying to convict Saul and it was hard for Saul to resist Him. God knew Saul would believe if he knew the truth. Do you have a loved one that would know the truth if they could see it? If life and death were made plain in front of them, would they choose life? If what is holy and upright was seen clearly next to wickedness and death, would they choose what is right? For those, the enemy works hard to make evil appear as good and good appear as evil. We pray for those people, binding the enemy and asking the Holy Spirit to bring light to what is true. It truly is a kingdom of light verses a kingdom of darkness. Saul is stopped by a great light, a light so bright that it blinds Saul.
We don’t know this from the Bible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were Christians who were not only praying about Saul but were praying FOR Saul. God moved supernaturally to arrest this man’s attention.
For three days, Saul could not see. He did not eat or drink. Saul was a student of the Law. He just had an encounter with Christ in His glory. He could not deny his experience. For a learner like Saul, I imagine he took those three days to weight what he thought he knew with the idea that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah. He has a vision of a man visiting him and restoring his sight. He gives his life in surrender, receiving salvation and a new spirit.
God appears in a vision to a disciple of Christ’s named Ananias. He instructs Ananias to go see Saul of Tarsus, telling Ananias where Saul is. Ananias does not know about the Damascus Road experience or Saul’s transformation. Ananias states what he knows about Saul to the Lord. The Lord reassures Ananias to go, saying Saul was a chosen vessel of His to go the Gentiles, kings, and Jews. He said he would show Saul the things he would have to suffer for the Messiah. Ananias obeyed the Lord. He ministers healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit to Saul. We know from Corinthians that Saul prayed in tongues, an evidence of being filled with the Spirit.
There is a power in fasting, setting ourselves aside to seek God, which is what Saul did. After the breakthrough, Saul ate and was strengthened.
Instead of arresting them, Saul spent several days with the disciples there in Damascus.
In verse 20, it says that Saul IMMEDIATELY began to preach in the synagogues, saying that Jesus is the Son of God. The people heard about Saul. They people had been warned about Saul. He was commissioned by the chief priests to capture and imprison the Jewish Christians. They were amazed to hear him preaching their shared message. In increased in strength. The Jews in Damascus were confounded, hearing Saul teach, proving Jesus is the Christ. Saul was getting revelation to his understanding. It must have excited Saul to see truth uncovered, seeing things he had not seen before in the Old Testament. It must have been amazing to realize that the Messiah had come in his lifetime. Saul, having light to the Scripture, was sold out to the cause of the Messiah. Saul was bold. Saul was zealous. Saul was filled with the Spirit! He would be one of many in those days that would take the message of the Jewish Messiah to the Jews, the Gentiles, and even stand before kings. That’s what a revelation of Christ will do! Keep praying for your loved ones. For some, all they need is to see clearly.
After Eliphaz accuses Job, Job gives a fourth response. This time Job appeals to God, pleading his case, praying for relief. Take notice - we don’t see the friends praying. Prayer comes from surrender to God in good times and in difficult times. Some only serve God in the happy seasons. People of faith stay true to God no matter what this fallen world or a fallen enemy will attempt to bring. God has sent Jesus to help us to OVERCOME, not to roll over, not to crumple under the attacks that come against us. Run TO God instead of running AWAY from God. Don’t allow anything to put up a wall to keep God out of your situation.
In chapter 18, Bildad responds to Job’s pleading, saying, “How long till you put an end to words?” After an act of humility and surrender, don’t be surprised at the meanness and harshness of the religiously proud. We need to keep our heart tender to God, staying in the grip of His love.