Finally, Paul’s conversion experience revealed to him, and ultimately to all of us, that we are the Body of Christ (Acts 9:4-5). 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22), and it appears only in Acts. Question: "When and why was Saul’s name changed to Paul?" Furthermore, how could he be addressing Saul? Yet Acts 9 is closer to Acts 10, as we will see, in that both recount a crucial conversion narrative involving two visions and the overcoming of considerable obstacl… 20 Things Most People Learn Too Late In Life, A Woman Turned in Her Neighbour, Turned Out He was a Serial Killer, I’ve Been Hiding My Investment Strategy (Out of Fear) for 6 Years. It is not just in the Book of Acts that the importance of Saul’s conversion is evident. Perhaps there has never happened an event of equal importance since the days of Pentecost. By this remark, Luke indicates the comprehensive scope of Saul’s commission, involving as it does both Gentiles and Jews, the fact that a special focus will be on Gentiles, and that he will be testifying before authorities as well. Paul was to be God’s instrument of election, “to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and for the people of Israel.” The order of this list is no doubt intentional, and it anticipates what is said to Saul directly in Acts 22:15 and 26:16–18. Saul, which is Paul’s given name, was born into a Jewish family in Tarsus (Turkey) around the year A.D. 8; he was also a Roman citizen, a fact that would play a large role later in his life. In what ways has God used you in unlikely ways or used your weaknesses to bring glory to His name. It is important to note that the end of Saul’s fast – which came after his conscience had been settled upon being forgiven of his sins – came after baptism. What happens to us is also done to Jesus (Acts 9:4-5; cp. Paul receives his calling in this passage and begins to take steps forward in obedience to God from day one. It’s clear that Ananias is a Christian disciple, and he is apparently one who has always lived in Damascus, for he has only heard about Saul’s persecution of Christians in Jerusalem, not experienced it. He went to those very synagogues in order to gain disciples of the Lord. What happens to us is also done to Jesus (Acts 9:4-5; cp. Stephen was preaching the Gospel, which infuriated those who heard, to the point that they threw him out of the city to stone him. (Witherington). I didn’t like its answer and neither will you. His name was Aretas IV (9 B.C.-A.D. 40). 7:14). And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” The response that Ananias received is remarkable, even shocking, and knowing what we know now, a deeply important statement. (Constable & Bruce) Lying on main route from Egypt to Mesopotamia, it became a major commercial center. Without question, the story of Saul’s “conversion” is one of the most important events, if not the most important event, that Luke records in Acts. This is something we must strive for, something that we must always be working towards. Paul Senz is a native of Verboort, Oregon, and a graduate of the University of Portland, where he is currently working towards a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry. Damascus — The King of the Nabateans, who governed Damascus at this time, cooperated with Saul. We do not know how Ananias first heard about Jesus, but he is probably not one of those who fled from Jerusalem because of the persecution of Christians there. 1. Saul — Much of what we need to know about Paul at this point in the Acts narrative can be found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Damascus stood about 135 miles to the north-northeast of Jerusalem, about a week’s journey away. This is related to us in the ninth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. This story about the conversion of Saul shows the way that God uses unlikely people to carry out His purposes. At the time of Christ, Saul was born in Tarsus, a coastal city now located in Turkey. Fulton Sheen’s Advice for the End of 2020, Former Swiss Guard Serves a Feast for the Imagination in The Vatican Christmas Cookbook. Many people believe that conversion to Christ happens by praying a “sinner’s prayer.” Yet Saul was praying for three days and received no forgiveness (Acts 22:16). A devout Jew, a Pharisee, he sought them out, and requested special permissions from the chief priests in order to dispatch “justice” most swiftly and without delay. crucifixion and resurrection—has happened to us who believe in him (Galatians 2:20). Visit the Calling Lab to get started. Former Swiss Guard Serves a Feast for the Imagination in, The Lost Riches of Catholic Catechisms with Aaron Seng of Tradivox, The Catholic Faith in Public Life After the 2020 Election with Derek Rotty, We Can Spiritually Grow Together While Social Distancing | Simone Rizkallah. Ananias was familiar with Saul by reputation. Jesus? But something happened on the way to Damascus – something which would change the course of the new Christian Church, and the course of the history of the world. Secondly, St. Paul helps to show us just what conversion means. Queen’s Street, which runs straight through Damascus from east to west, may be the street called Straight (Acts 9:11). (1-2) Saul’s purpose in traveling to Damascus. How has he personally comforted you? Before his conversion from Saul to Paul, Saul was a Jewish Pharisee who was tasked with the investigation of Jesus. crucifixion and resurrection—has happened to us who believe in him (Galatians 2:20). Help Grace to You bring important resources like this to people in your community and beyond, free of charge. This is a man who had explicitly, and apparently with some relish, persecuted the followers of Jesus Christ. Answer: One of the often-thought-of “name changes” in the Bible is that of Saul to Paul.The change is commonly linked to Saul’s conversion on the Damascus Road, when the Lord Jesus commissioned him to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1–19).However, at the time of Saul’s conversion, Jesus still addressed him as “Saul.” The initial record of Saul’s conversion (Acts 9) is not Paul’s account; it is that of the historian Luke. Discuss your experience with the idea of a calling from God with your group. The conversion of St. Paul is important to us for two reasons. “Saul’s Conversion,” Friend, Nov. 1999, 39 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him ( James 1:5 ). Seeking out more disciples of Jesus Christ, Saul wanted to punish them, and perhaps encourage them, by such punishment, to recant and rejoin the Jewish fold. (Robertson). The word disciple used to describe Ananias is typically used by Luke to describe a believer. It meant the path characterized by life and salvation. Conversion is not meant only for non-Christians or non-Catholics; conversion is not something that is only meant for those who have led dramatically sinful lives; conversion is a re-orientation of our wills toward God’s, a change of heart wherein we seek what God wills, and strive to do what He is calling us to do. The one whom the Romans executed in shame and ignominy? © Copyright 2020 Catholic Exchange. This is in what conversion consists: a change of heart. Learn more. The Elites Are Preparing a New Currency to Replace the U.S. Dollar. Saul’s Conversion. Secondly, the criticism fails to take into account the epochal nature of the conversion of Saul, and its importance in the divine scheme of things. Where are you on that path? A light from the sky flashed around Saul, and he fell to the ground.
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