The Conversion of Saul

Hello everyone. Our thanks to Don for his comment on the last blog. I had hoped to find the Watchtower magazine where someone did ask once about that passage in Acts, but alas, I could not. Tonight, we’re going to continue through the book of Acts and we’ll be talking about the conversion of Saul who we now know today as the apostle Paul. This is an exceptionally long passage and so I have decided that I won’t quote it. Instead, I encourage the reader to open their Bible or at least a web Bible to the passage. It’s Acts 9. We’ll look at verses 1-19.

Saul is on the rampage and the text says that he is  breathing out threats against the disciples of the Lord. The idea is that his every moment was spent in doing whatever he could to stop the new movement. While we did not cover it, we are first introduced to Saul as the one who oversaw the death of Stephen.

Saul is continuing on his journey to gather more Christians and bring them to the high priest when he is stopped on his journey by a light from Heaven. He falls to the ground and he hears a voice saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

This is an interesting idea already as Saul has not done anything to the Lord physically, but the attack on the disciples of the Lord is seen as an attack on the Lord himself. Saul’s reply is interesting as well as he asks “Who are you, Lord?”

Well wouldn’t that be obvious?

After all, this is an orthodox Jew we’re talking about and the only one they would know as Lord would be YHWH wouldn’t it? Is Saul having to ask if this is YHWH? And yet, when there is a reply, there are some connotations that come from that reply. Saul is told that the one who is speaking to him is Jesus and he has been identified as Lord.

Switch to Ananias who is in Damascus and is praying and the Lord speaks to him in a vision. Do we have any reason to think that the person who is referred to by the title of Lord here is any different than the one who was identified as the Lord to Paul? No.

It is amazing that all of a sudden after the resurrction, there is no hesitancy by the followers of Christ to refer to him as Lord. It was the resurrection that convinced them of the divine claims that he made and showed them that he had in himself the power to overcome death. Other resurrections had involved a prophet speaking or coming in contact with one somehow. There was none of that for Jesus. He came back by his own power.

In verse 15, the Lord also tells Ananias that Saul is a chosen instrument of his to bear his name before the Gentiles, kings, and sons of Israel. He also says that Saul will have to suffer much for the sake of his name.

Now either we have a Jesus of the same nature as YHWH, or we have one on a massive ego trip. Who is it that makes choices of this sort in the OT? It’s YHWH? Whose name is it that is sought to be glorified? It’s YHWH. Who is it whose name we are to suffer for? It’s YHWH.

And yet here, it’s Jesus, as Ananias confirms in verse 17 speaking of the Lord Jesus. Those words were not lost on Saul. The one he had been persecuting was the one he had thought he was serving.

It’s arguments like this I actually find quite convincing of who Jesus is. The way we overlook these simple references is astounding. All throughout this section we have a clear picture of who Jesus is, and yet this is one we hardly go to to show who Jesus is.

Let’s change that.

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