Friday: Further Thought – Conversion of Paul

Further Study: “A general slain in battle is lost to his army, but his death gives no additional strength to the enemy. But when a man of prominence joins the opposing force, not only are his services lost, but those to whom he joins himself gain a decided advantage. Saul of Tarsus, on his way to Damascus, might easily have been struck dead by the Lord, and much strength would have been withdrawn from the persecuting power.

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But God in His providence not only spared Saul’s life, but converted him, thus transferring a champion from the side of the enemy to the side of Christ.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 124.

“Christ had commanded [H]is disciples to go and teach all nations; but the previous teachings which they had received from the Jews made it difficult for them to fully comprehend the words of their Master, and therefore they were slow to act upon them. They called themselves the children of Abraham, and regarded themselves as the heirs of divine promise. It was not until several years after the Lord’s ascension that their minds were sufficiently expanded to clearly understand the intent of Christ’s words, that they were to labor for the conversion of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews.”—Ellen G. White, Sketches From the Life of Paul, p. 38.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Dwell more on Jesus’ question to Paul on the Damascus road: “Why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4, NRSV). For Paul, this question was an indication that Jesus of Nazareth had indeed been resurrected from the dead. But, more than that, it was also an indication of the spiritual identification that exists between Jesus and His church (see also Matt. 25:34-45). The implication is obvious: any harm done to the church is harm done to Jesus Himself. In practical terms, what does this mean to us today?
  2. Witnessing for Jesus involves suffering for Jesus. It is not by chance that the Greek word for “witness” (martys) came to be associated with “martyrdom.” What does it mean to suffer for Jesus?
  3. There’s an old Latin saying, Credo ut intelligam, which means, “I believe in order that I may understand.” How does this idea help us understand what happened to Saul of Tarsus? That is, before his conversion, before Paul became a believer in Jesus, he didn’t understand. Only after his experience was he able to comprehend. What lesson can we draw from this for the times when we may find ourselves frustrated with those who don’t believe in truths that seem so clear to us?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons