St Paul

posted by: Joan Vine | on: Wednesday, 20 January 2016, 12:58


St Paul

St Paul

St Paul - The Travelling Salesman of Tarsas: Saul was born in Tarsas in 5 A.D. a city in eastern Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) within the Roman Empire and although he was Jewish Paul was also a Roman citizen, the status that gave him many rights and privileges. Probably the most important of these was the right to appeal decisions of lower courts to the highest court in the Empire: the Emperor himself.

Although he was born in Tarsas, Saul was raised and educated in Jerusalem. When we first encounter Saul he is at the execution of Stephen the first Christian martyr and, indeed, he started as one of Christianity’s most zealous enemies. Eventually Saul headed towards Damascus Saul in order to persecute followers of Christ in that city.

As Paul and his companions approach Damascus to apprehend Christians, blinding light surrounds them and Paul falls to the ground. Then he hears a voice “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) “Who are you, Lord?” Paul asks. The voice replies, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” This reply would have been more shocking than the blinding light surrounding it, since Paul truly believed that he was defending God in his efforts to stamp out Christianity. Jesus points out that his efforts are achieving the exact opposite. Paul now blind, is led by his companions into Damascus.

In Damascus Paul has a vision that a man called Ananias would cure him of his blindness. Ananias has a similar vision in which God tells him to find Paul and lay his hands on him to restore sight. Knowing of Paul’s previous record Ananias, quite understandably, objects rather strongly. God’s response allays Ananias’ and informs him of Paul’s future.

“Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before the Gentiles and Kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name”. (Acts 9:15-16).

Following his conversion, Paul made three long missionary journeys throughout the Roman Empire planting churches, preaching the gospel, and giving strength and encouragement to early Christians. Of the 27 books in the New Testament Paul is traditionally credited as the author of 10 of them. While he was proud of his Jewish heritage, Paul saw that the gospel was for the Gentiles as well. Paul was martyred for his faith in Christ by the Romans, about 64 or 65 A.D. We celebrate his Feast day 25th January (The conversion of St Paul). Alan Vine, Cathedral branch,


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