Saul The Persecutor Becomes Paul The Apostle

CaravaggioConversionPaul01

The conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus   
Painting by Caravaggio

Saul's Meets Jesus On The Road To Damascus

Saul, the zealous young Jewish rabbi, who had been trained in the Jewish Torah (Law of Moses) by Gamaliel, the leading Jewish scholar of the day, was on his way to Damascus to hunt down the renegade followers of this Jesus of Nazareth theyclaimed was the Messiah, when he was confronted by a vision of the risen and exalted Christ in Person.

You can read Paul's own account of what happened in ACTS 22:1-15; ACTS 26:9-25;GALATIANS 1:11-24.

You can also read Luke's account in ACTS 9:1-19.

Initial Doubts About Saul's Conversion

When old Ananias in Damascus was visited by Jesus in a vision and told that Saul, the persecutor of Christians, was coming to see him the old man was understandably doubtful.

"Are you sure, LORD? This guy has been persecuting Christians and hauling them off to jail?"

But Jesus assures Ananias that God has chosen Saul to be his messenger to the Gentiles of salvation through faith in Jesus' death and resurrection for sinners.

Like Ananias, the other believers could not believe that Saul, the persecutor of Christians, had been converted and was now preaching the Good News that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. But eventually, it became clear that God really had called Paul to be his ambassador to the Gentiles.

Saul The Persecutor Becomes Paul The Martyr

With the spread of the gospel there also came persecution, just as Jesus had warned the disciples before his death:"Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you." (JOHN 15:20-21)

Paul himself was arrested in Rome and put under house arrest for several years before being released. Eventually Paul and Peter were both executed in 62 or 63 AD as part of the persecution of Christians that broke out in the reign of the emperor Nero.


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