Scripture Reading:
Acts 8:1-8; 9:1-25; 22:3-4; Gal. 1:14

“Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them”(John 13:16-17)
the conversion of saul

In Philippians 3, Paul testifies of his life before being saved, when he was still known as Saul. A descendent of the tribe of Benjamin, Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews, and a Pharisee concerning the law (v. 5). As for his zeal and conduct pertaining to the law, he was a blameless man (v. 6). Paul had been raised at the feet of Gamaliel, a renowned Pharisee and teacher (Acts 22:3), and was advanced in Judaism beyond many of his contemporaries (Gal. 1:14). His zeal for the Jewish law and traditions ultimately led him to systematically persecute and arrest anyone found calling on the Lord’s name (Acts 22:4). He also stood with those who stoned Stephen to death (8:1).

After the great persecution that befell the church in Jerusalem following Stephen’s death, the believers might have refrained from calling on the Lord’s name publicly. It is possible that those who continued calling on the Lord’s name did so secretly. Others chose to flee the city and travelled to other regions, such as Judea and Samaria, preaching the word of Christ and bringing salvation to people with much joy (Acts 8:2, 4-8).

Having decided to also pursue Christians outside of Jerusalem and arrest them, Paul was on the way to Damascus when he found the Lord (Acts 9:23 1-9). Paul was left blind by that encounter, but eventually began to see again. After being baptized, Paul immediately went out to dispute with the local Jews (vv. 20-22). While he may have won every argument, the Jews were left exceedingly angry (v. 23).

During this time, Paul earned himself a group of admirers who became his disciples, and later helped him escape an ambush set by the Jews (Acts 9:25). While this episode is seemingly nothing more than an escape, we believe that God was sovereignly keeping Paul from his own apostleship. Here lies a lesson to us all: though we might be tempted to make disciples for ourselves when we exercise our function as a guardian or a steward, we must never forget that those we care for, as well as ourselves, are all followers of the Lord Jesus alone.

Key Point:
Disciples of the Lord Jesus.
Based on today’s reading, what was God’s real intention in taking Paul away from Damascus?