A Skeptic Changes His Tune

Luke’s biographical prowess is well-documented among historians.  It is clear Luke’s singular purpose in Acts 9 is to convey a real event regarding a real man, and the significance of this story has continued to shape history for nearly 2000 years.  What does Luke’s story tell us? 

A Jewish Pharisee named Saul came to face to face with the risen Christ.  This encounter symbolized a number of important realities:

  1. Religion, as currently defined, was not going to be endorsed by Jesus.   In fact, this was a direct confrontation of corrupt religion. 
  2. In the process, Jesus addressed a much deeper question.  Essentially, the issue was this: Saul, what are you pursuing?  Are you going to pursue a system, or are you going to pursue Truth itself? 
  3. Jesus would remain accessible to individuals.  The resurrection was not merely going to be a ‘one-and-done’ sort of event.  Rather, the ongoing power of God’s Spirit would remain with His people.  
  4. The power of such an encounter was inevitably transformative.  Paul, the ultimate skeptic, began preaching a message that confounded the Greeks and became a stumbling block for the Jews. (I Cor. 1:23)  Why?

Paul experienced something much deeper than rules.  This was an issue of motive, of pursuit, of heart.  How did this experience change him?  He began sharing the story of a divine Being who had been crucified. 

Not only this, but Paul was promoting a scandalous notion: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Gal. 3:28) Such a statement would have been soundly rejected in the ancient world, for this was a culture that responded only to power and authority. Yet, the ramifications of Paul’s pronouncement were monumental, and have set in motion a series of ripple effects that have since changed the course of history.  

We are still unpacking the meaning of this message today.  It is a message of hope, love, faith, and freedom. 

Blessed to share this Sunday,

Dr. Stephen Martin

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