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Breezin’ Through The Bible, #29 Paul Partners With Jesus

May 15, 2014

Paul Partners With Jesus

The first four books of the New Testament, The Gospel, are followed by the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke about Jesus’ followers who began to spread the work of Jesus by starting the Christian church. In the Acts we meet Saul, the short bow-legged, balding man, later transformed to Paul.

This young man was probably the least likely person to be selected Jesus’ partner to spread the word of God. His reputation for persecuting new followers was famous among believers, and he was feared and despised by them. Paul was born about 5 BC or 5 AD to a devout Jewish family in Tarsus. He claimed to be a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, and a Roman citizen. He had a good education, knew the Jewish laws and practices, and had learned the useful skill of tent-making. His abrupt conversion on the road to Damascus in 31 or 36 AD changed his life. Perhaps, he thought, Jews were not ethnically superior to others, and perhaps Gentiles and Jews could be united as people of God.

Paul’s experiences changed his behaviors. Jesus had fulfilled God’s promises to the Jews for a Messiah, and Paul saw the light (literally), was blind three days, and then believed that Jesus was the way, the truth and the light.to God. Although Paul was not technically a teacher, he became a partner with other apostles in the movement to spread “The Way” throughout the known world. Paul and the disciples, with others they trained and encouraged, put legs on Christianity. They spread knowledge of Jesus’ brief life and his words throughout the known world. They were messengers for Jesus.

Jesus had traveled about 150 miles throughout Judea and Galilee, but Paul traveled perhaps 1400 miles throughout the Mediterranean area, explaining to all, Jews and non-Jews, how Jesus had fulfilled the ancient scriptures, had been crucified and resurrected according to God’s plan. Paul wrote letters to new groups of believers formed into churches, encouraging them to keep the faith, and reminding them of Jesus’ doctrines. These letters became part of the history of Jesus, eventually forming parts or all of 13 books of the New Testament. The letters are grouped from longest to shortest: Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippeans, Colossians, Thessalonians, and Philemon. Philemon was a private citizen whose runaway slave became a Christian leader and friend of Paul’s. Letters were written by other leaders to newly formed congregations.

Paul’s letters contained words of reassurance and advice to the newly formed churches.that were encountering large problems. These were the times of Caligula, Claudius and Nero, emperors of Rome. Paul reminded the followers of the power of Christ to change lives, the difficulties facing newly formed Christians, and the rewards accompanying a faithful life, even as he was being chased out of towns, beaten, stoned, ridiculed, and imprisoned.

Jesus knows character, recognizes loyalty and determination. Choosing Paul on the road to Damascus to spread his word was not accidental, and Paul was faithful to his commitment to his death.

-to be contd.-

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