“We are a holy collision of the natural and supernatural, sparks constantly flying.”
Beth Moore~Entrusted Bible Study
Before we move forward, full throttle in Saul’s holy collision, can I point you back to these words from Saul, watching Stephen’s stoning.
“The way I picture him in this moment, turns out to be worlds apart from the actual.
I see him larger than life, a Goliath of sorts, arms crossed over his beefy chest. His stance wide, stiff and unmoving in his Roman sandaled feet. Heat, anger, downright meanness radiates from his body. A monster breathing rage at all who believed.” tlm
When Saul comes on the scene this is exactly how I see him. Puffed up, larger than real life, red faced angry, and in the words of my Sweet Granny, “meaner than a striped (pronounced stripe-ed) snake.” Striking fear in hearts.
A force to be reckoned with. Saul, meaning masculine. Everything about this sends a shiver of fear running down my spine.
In actuality, Saul is a small man. Small in stature, estimated to be somewhere between four feet six and four feet ten. In fact, this once fire breathing, larger than life enemy, was shorter than I am.
A pointed nose, eyebrows that met in the middle of his forehead, and knobby knees.
Somewhere along Saul’s transformation, his name changes to Paul, which, in the Greek language, means small in stature.
The irony does not pass me by.
When Saul stands before us as the enemy, he seems much larger than he really is. I do not know about you, but in my life, when facing an enemy, the enemy always seems larger than it really is. Larger than life. I have to channel my inner Beth Moore, “is anybody tracking with me here?”
Not only is Saul physically small, through his transformation, he becomes a lowly, humble servant of Jesus.
John 3:30~ESV, tells us, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Saul goes low, decreases. Christ grows large in him and through him. What an amazing transformation!
Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” ~Acts 9:19-20 NLT
Saul’s conviction strong, his preaching becomes more and more powerful. Crowds gather around in amazement, begging the question, “was this not the man who caused such devastation in Jerusalem to the Jesus followers? Didn’t he come to arrest them, dragging them off in chains?”
Isn’t it the same with us?
When I have come through my darkest, most broken seasons, I come through more convicted. More refined. My season of pit dwelling transformed me in ways I never would or could have imagined. We see this in Saul.
Not much time passes, and Saul is now on the other side, the receiving end of persecution.
After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall. ~Acts 9:23-25
Saul escapes, arrives in Jerusalem, attempting to meet with the believers. His former way of life has proceeded him. The believers are afraid, not believing Saul has changed.
A fellow, by the name of Barnabas takes him under his wing. Presents Saul to the believers and backs his story of transformation. Barnabas also tells them, he, himself, had witnessed Saul preaching boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
Barnabas, well known and trusted, stands up for Paul. Barnabas becomes Saul’s encourager, and later his mentor.
So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. ~Acts 9:28 NLT
Once again Saul’s life is threatened. The believers deliver Saul to safety by taking him down to Caesarea, sending him away to Tarsus, his hometown.
For a period of time the church experienced peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, becoming stronger as the believers lived in fear of the Lord.
And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. ~Acts 9:31b NLT
The persecutor becomes the persecuted. Chased from this day forward, never giving up for the name of Jesus.
With that, there is this hope:
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