Saul was a deeply religious man. He clung to the laws and traditions of the Jews. He saw the advancement of the new sect as evil until the day Jesus confronted him. Then everything changed, even his name. Paul became a steward of grace. He could not keep to himself the things he received from God. His encounter with the resurrected Jesus came in power, through revelation and with purpose.
Jesus stopped Paul in his tracks. It wasn’t “Hi Paul, I’m Jesus.” No it was a powerful encounter. There was a bright light. He was blinded and then healed. He had a conversation with the Son of God. That conversation resulted in a complete turn around in the life of Paul. It was however only the beginning.
Paul had much to learn. He also had much to unlearn. In his letters he declares it came through revelation. His understanding of the truth came directly from the Spirit of truth. It was not second hand nor was it through someone else’s interpretation.
God is also a God of purpose. Everything He does has intent. He reveals to Ananias, the first Jesus follower sent to Paul, the purpose He has for Paul. He would take the gospel to the Gentiles. In addition he would take the good news of Jesus to Kings and the children of Israel. Paul’s life became about fulfilling that purpose. His missionary journeys took him to the Gentiles with the message of salvation.
God chose and built up the nation of Israel. Nevertheless His eyes looked beyond to the stranger and the alien and wove it into the laws of Israel. Still His disciples needed His direction, to understand that the good news wasn’t just for them. It was for the Gentiles as well. Paul proved to be a major player in the transition. His teachings aid not only in the understanding of the oneness of the body through Jesus but many other things as well. I for one am so thankful for Paul’s teaching.