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Breezin’ Through the Bible #28 B, Saul Becomes Paul

May 8, 2014

Saul Becomes Paul

Stephen was a young man showing God’s grace and power, who performed great wonders and signs among the people. Jews from the synagogue tried to argue against him, but Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, told them that they had killed the Righteous One, Jesus, and they had broken their own laws. The persecutors were furious and led Stephen outside the city gates and stoned him. Stephen looked to the heaven and saw the glory of God. “Look,” he said. “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. “Lord,” he said. “Do not hold this sin against them.” Stephen is known as the first Christian martyr.

Standing nearby was a Jewish man named Saul who approved of the killing. He decided he would do his best to destroy the followers of Jesus that were questioning laws in effect thousands of years since Moses. A brilliant strategist, Saul wreaked havoc among the converts, killing as many as he could. Then he decided to widen his destruction to wipe out the converts and go to Damascus where two trade routes crossed paths. There he could prevent Jesus followers from spreading their message.

On the road to Damascus, Saul was blinded by a bright light. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul was led to a nearby room where for three days he was blind and neither ate nor drank. 

The Lord went to Ananias, a follower of Jesus, telling him to go to Saul and put his hands on him to restore his sight. Ananias resisted, fearful Saul would kill him. The Lord insisted. Ananias obeyed. Saul’s sight was restored, and he was baptized, receiving the Holy Spirit. Then Saul began to preach, saying that Jesus was truly the Son of God.

Most of the new Christians were Jews, but in a dream the Lord told Peter to go to the home of Cornelius, a gentile, a non-Jew who was thought to be unclean. The Lord showed Peter that no one was impure or unclean. 

Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the great, arrested James, the brother of John, and put him to death. Then he arrested Peter, but in the night an angel released Peter from prison. Later Herod was eaten by worms and died. Vengeance is the Lord’s.

Saul and his friend Barnabas spent a year ministering in a mainly Gentile church in Antioch, where the believers were first called Christians. Saul got a name change to Paul, and joined by Mark, who wrote the Gospel of Mark, traveled to the cities and towns of Asia Minor, and the Spirit led them to proclaim Jesus everywhere they went.

-to be contd.

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