They call him Paul. But over the next few days……we will find out who he really is.
Followers of Christ were called Nazarenes…….followers of Paul were called Christians.
But lets start with the story of his “conversion experience”.
Luke said Jesus told Paul to go to the city and ‘await instructions’:
3 And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” And the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”.
Paul himself confirms this version of events about needing to go to Damascus and ‘await instructions’:
6 “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me.
7 “And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’
8 “So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’
9 “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me.
10 “So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’.
But later on, Paul says Jesus gave him some very interestingly detailed instructions:
14 “And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
16 ‘But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
17 ‘I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
18 ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
So what exactly happened??? Was Paul given detailed instructions……or was he told to wait for instructions after he gets to the city of Damascus??
One version of the story must be a lie…….the question is why???
To be continued………
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