March 2024 | Eyes on Jesus

Saul of Tarsus and Us

Saul of Tarsus and Us

Dr. Valson Abraham

The miraculous transformation of Saul of Tarsus gives us hope for our own day.

Saul of Tarsus was the last person anyone expected to follow Jesus Christ.  That he would later become the missionary to the Gentiles, willing to face beatings, stoning, prisons, shipwreck, and to lose his life for the sake of Christ, was beyond unthinkable to anyone who knew his Jews-only snobbishness and murderous reputation.

He was a fanatical terrorist, pure and simple. 

Already, he was implicated in the death of Jesus’ first martyr, Stephen.  He possessed a hatred and fury against Jesus’ followers that rivalled or surpassed that of today’s radical terrorists.  When Jesus’ followers fled Jerusalem to escape him, he chased after them, determined to destroy this affront to his beloved traditions.  Who knows how many more believers died at his hands or at the hands of those who followed his orders?

In Galatians 1, we read his own description of his total devotion to the faith of his forefathers.  He despised non-Jews.  He despised Jesus’ followers.  The more people who followed Jesus Christ, the more infuriated and enraged he became.  Nothing, he resolved, would or could stop him from achieving his goal of 100% eradication of Jesus’ followers and Jesus’ memory from the earth. 

His furious determination, self-discipline, and leadership capabilities made it likely that he would succeed in his chosen mission in life.  And then…

On the road to Damascus, he met Jesus Christ face-to-face.  In a split second, Saul saw the Living Truth that wiped out all the lies and rubbish that governed his life.  In that split second, Saul’s life—and our own lives and destinies—were forever reversed.

In that split second, Saul of Tarsus became the man later known as Paul the Apostle, most likely the greatest Jesus-believer the world has ever known.  Everyone who reads this piece owes an unpayable debt to him and to Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, who made it all possible.

In those dark days before the light from heaven blinded Saul of Tarsus, most Jesus followers wondered how long it would take before that relentless killer caught up to them.  They did not count on what God would do to change the course of history.

In our own dark days, with so much demonic activity in India and elsewhere arrayed against the advance of the gospel, is it not also hard for us to believe that anything will soon change?  By the day, everything seems to get worse and worse and worse.  This trend toward worldwide spiritual and cultural decline has continued throughout our lives.  At any moment, an explosion of society could take place, with wars, chaos and death breaking out everywhere.

Many prominent Christians say we live in a post-Christian age.  Many of our children and grandchildren, raised in the church, are deserting the faith in droves for New Age, witchcraft, drugs, transgenderism, and the like.  We are told, even by some of our most revered Christian leaders, we will lose.  We will live as powerless exiles on the outskirts of Babylon until Jesus raptures us out of the growing mess. 

It’s the only course open to us now, we are told; otherwise, we will die in utter defeat as the Great Tribulation sweeps the world and the Anti-Christ takes the throne, making the Dark Ages seem like a picnic in comparison. 

But God never adopts such a losing scenario.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is the same God who reversed the life of Saul of Tarsus in a split second.  Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit—and Saul of Tarsus’ conversion—remind us that God’s work on earth never retreats but always advances, even in the face of the fiercest demonic opposition.  Jesus has come to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

What God has shown us in the past is a foretaste of what He plans for the future.  We haven’t seen anything yet.  The greatest works of Christ have yet to take place in India and the world, in your lives and in the lives of those we love.  It will be the most unlikely people who will lead the way.

Our deluded children will become the most devoted generation to the Great Commission.  The estranged and the prodigals will return.  The perverted will preach the Good News.  The addicted will find freedom and give it to others.  The demonized will cast out demons.  Even persecutors, today’s versions of Saul of Tarsus, will become Christ’s most loyal and eloquent representatives.

Surely, that day will come in a split second, like the conversion of Saul of Tarsus on that Damascus Road.  Pray and praise God for that day!

Father God, I thank you that nothing is impossible with you.  You can save the worst of sinners to accomplish your highest purposes.  You save the best for last.  Thank you for your love and salvation available to me and even to my worst enemies.  I pray for a great awakening that will change my life and this world, even as you transformed the life of Saul of Tarsus.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

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