What made this Christian Murderer a World Evangelist?
Paul didn't meet Jesus the way Peter, John, and the other disciples did. He didn't have the chance to eat with Jesus, see Jesus perform miracles, or listen to Jesus teach. The only clear encounter we see of Paul meeting Jesus was on his way to Damascus as a voice speaking to him. And yet, when I read his letters I'm shock with his deep love for Jesus and for his passion in knowing him. What happened that day on the road to Damascus? What did he see for those three days that he was blind? What did Jesus show him about himself that made such a huge transformation in Paul's life? What type of encounters did he have after the Damascus one? What made this Christian murderer a world evangelist?
In some sense, I am jealous. Part of me really wants to encounter Jesus the way Paul did. I want to see what he saw. I want to feel what he felt.
Something I noticed in all of Paul's letters is his deep understanding of what true love is. Here are some of his words from some of his letters:
Romans 8:38-9 - "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, not height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the LOVE of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
1 Corinthians 13:13 - "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
2 Corinthians 5:14 - "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all."
Galatians 5:6 - "For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love."
Ephesians 2:4 - "But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us"
These verses alone shows us how deep Paul's understanding was of God's love for him and for everyone. He belonged to God not as his slave, but as his beloved.
This is the verse I was reading tonight, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, BECAUSE CHRIST JESUS HAS MADE ME HIS OWN." (Philippians 3:12)
Jesus made him his own! Back when he was just Saul, he did not know what love was, but starting on that day, on the road to Damascus, He felt a love he has never felt before and from that moment he devoted himself to this love and made sure everyone he encountered knew of this love. This love he experienced everyday surpassed everything else in his life.
Philippians 3:8-10 - "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ."
The good news is that we too could receive and encounter this love everyday. Both on good days and bad days. Paul's life was full but he also suffered much. In the midst of those sufferings, he still felt loved or else he would have left Jesus and went back to persecuting the church.
Have you been feeling unloved by God again recently? Are you still having a hard time believing that there is a true love so powerful it really could transform your life? Think about this Christian murderer, Paul, if it was available to him it surely is available for you as well.
May you experience His love in such a powerful transforming way today.