THE WITNESS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
The Apostle Paul initially was one of Christianity's greatest enemies. He
was a fanatical Pharisee, son of a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), who was bent on the
destruction of the newly-emerged sect. The book of Acts describes Paul's
vehemence vividly: "As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into
every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." (
Ac 8:3 ).
Furthermore, we also read, "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and
slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest." (Ac
9:1) In Galatians 1:13 Paul recounts his
efforts to stamp out Christianity with deep regret: "For ye have heard of my
conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I
persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:"
Paul's change was due to a dramatic and transforming encounter with Christ
himself who cast him off his horse and left him blind (Acts 9). He was later
instructed by the disciples, repented, was baptized and became a great
apostle who was willing to go anywhere, bear great sufferings and risk his
life for Jesus Christ. Later in his life Paul recounts his great sacrifices
for the cause of the Gospel.
22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they
Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23 Are
they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more
abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice
was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a
night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in
perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in
perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness,
in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness
and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings
often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:22-27).
The conversion and later intense dedication of Paul to the Gospel of
Jesus Christ is an undeniable witness to Christ's existence and to His
divine origins. Paul, in his epistles, offers total support to the view
that Christ was divine:
"...and immediately he began to proclaim
Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." (Ac
"...who was declared the Son of God with
power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of
holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,"
"For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was
preached among you by us" (2Co
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest
who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God..." (Heb
Paul was an arch-enemy of
Christianity but became totally convinced of the divinity of Chist and
became its foremost propagator. Paul was willing to suffer horrific
suffering and finally a gruesome death, not because he was
self-deceived into supporting a fraud or an illusion but because
he was totally convinced the the gospel and the originator, Jesus Christ
were from God.
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