Chapter Sixteen


A young man of Israel named Saul studied in Jerusalem. He was a descendant of Benjamin and was extremely zealous of his ancestral traditions. Romans 11:1. He was advancing well in Judaism. Galatians 1:14. He studied under a leading teacher of the law in Jerusalem. Saul even persecuted Christians in Jerusalem entering house after house dragging men and women off to prison. Acts 8:3. He tried to destroy the church of God. Galatians 1:13. Saul was present when a Christian named Stephen was dragged out of Jerusalem and stoned to death. Acts 7:58. Later Saul got authority from the Jewish officials in Jerusalem to go after Christians in Damascus. Acts 9:1. He took some men with him and left Jerusalem.

Later Saul told Jews in Jerusalem about this journey to Damascus. Now let us listen to Saul himself as he told about this journey:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today. "And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. "And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' "And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.' "And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. "And I said, 'What shall I do Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.' "But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. "And a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that very time I looked up at him. "And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' Acts 22:3-16.

We have read what Saul himself said to Jews in Jerusalem. Do you believe his testimony?
And immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" but Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 9:20-22.

Saul left Damascus and spent time in Arabia. Galatians 1:17, 18.

Then He returned to Damascus.
And when many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him. Acts 9:23.

Even the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize Saul. II Corinthians 11:32.
But the disciples took him by night, and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. Acts 9:25.
Saul then went to Jerusalem.
And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. Acts 9:29.

Saul spent the rest of his life preaching and teaching that Jesus is the Messiah who died for our sins. How do you account for this great change in the life of Saul? Did he teach about Jesus for personal gain? No, we cannot say that. Saul was stoned, beaten, and imprisoned for his testimony about Jesus. You must admit that Saul was honest, and was not after money. He was later arrested in Jerusalem and brought before the Jewish Council. Acts 23:1. He was then accused by the Jews before the governor, Felix. Acts 24:13. He was left in prison for two years. Acts 24:27. After those two years the chief priests brought charges against Saul before the new governor, Festus. Acts 25:1-3. Festus laid Saul's case before King Agrippa. Acts 25:14. Saul's defense before King Agrippa is recorded in Acts 26. Let us read his conclusion.

Acts 26:22-29:
"And so, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles." And while Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad." But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. "For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. "King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do." And Agrippa, replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian." And Paul said, "I would to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am. except for these chains."

Saul had appealed to Ceasar. Saul was taken to Rome for trial. On the way they were shipwrecked. Acts 27. In Rome Saul was under house arrest for two years. Acts 28:30.

Do you understand that Saul suffered much for what he preached and taught? Saul wrote to Timothy:
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God. Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. II Tim.1:8-12.

Consider now! Saul had been an enemy of Jesus. He like many Jews did not believe in Jesus to be the Messiah. He did not believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. But Saul saw Jesus. Jesus showed himself to Saul. Saul gave up his position as Pharisee and spent the rest of his life preaching what he knew to be the truth. He was an eyewitness to the fact of the resurrection of Jesus. You need to accept Saul's witness. You need to believe in Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God, as foretold by David in the 2nd Psalm, and in Isaiah 9:6,7.

At the close of his life, Saul was again imprisoned. Before he was executed by the Romans, Saul wrote these words to Timothy:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. II Timothy 4:6-8.

Saul gave his life for his witness to the resurrection of Jesus. He stands as a witness to you. The only way that you can account for the change in the life of Saul from a persecutor to a preacher of Jesus the Messiah, is that Jesus appeared to Saul. You need to believe in Jesus. He gave His blood for the forgiveness of your sins. You too can have eternal life in Messiah, a crown of righteousness.

When Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, Saul believed. Saul was brought into Damascus, and he was three days without sight and neither ate nor drank. Acts 9: 9.
Ananias was told to go to Saul:
. . . for behold, he is praying,
Acts 9:11.

From this we can understand that Saul repented. He fasted and prayed for three days. Was he saved? No, he was still in his sins. He believed, fasted, and prayed, but he was not yet in Messiah. He was still in his sins. Ananias said to Saul:

'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' Acts 22:16.

Germaine Lockwood

Copyright ©1996 by Germaine Charles Lockwood. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Scripture quotations in this work, unless otherwise indicated, are from The New American Standard Bible, Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations from The New King James Bible (NKJB), Copyright ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN. Used by permission.

Published in The Old Paths Archive

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