We know Paul as this theological giant, through his letters and his influence. But if we go back into Paul’s history, we find out he once wasn’t a very good guy. We read of his persecution of early Christians. We read that he held the coats of those who stoned Stephen in Acts. This leads us to believe that he was probably one of the religious leaders that voted to put Stephen to death. After that, he would get letters from other religious leaders requesting Paul to go to their city to remove Christians there, through imprisonment or death.
Then on a road to Damascus, Paul meets Jesus. And Jesus asks, “Why are you persecuting me?”
It is through this meeting that we see the transformation of Paul. From this point forward, we see him go to both Jew and gentiles to speak the truth of Jesus. Think about the fact that where you and I are today, could be the direct result of the pilgrimage of Paul.
At the turn of the 20th century, people saw the world as if it was becoming some utopia. But a hundred years later, through all we have seen, we can tell that it is not getting better.
When Paul says that he is an apostle, it means he has been set apart as someone who declares the truth of God. By being “set apart”, he describes his change of perspective. He no longer lives at the persecutor of Christians, but now lives his life only to deliver the good news of Jesus to people.
Paul was well versed in the “Holy Scriptures”, referring to what we know as the Old Testament. And while he, and others, knew what the OT said, they ignored what was promised through Jesus. They wanted him to be Superman, but they could not accept what the prophets actually said regarding Messiah. But Paul confirms that the OT indeed pointed to the person and lordship of Jesus.
Remember the man, Paul, who wrote this passage in Romans. How Jesus redeemed a person as lost as him. Now think about those around you who are lost. That no matter how lost they are, freedom is found in Jesus. God is still in the business of changing hearts.
1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (ESV)
2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (ESV)