Wednesday, November 15, 2006



There are 4 misconceptions with respect to Paul:
The first is the MISCONCEPTION OF HIS NAME. As a child growing up under the teachings of Christianity I learned along with most everyone else that Saul, the Jew, was converted over to become a Christian and now has the name of Paul. So, Saul was the Jewish name and Paul his Christian name. This is completely false.

There are two evidences that reveal the truth about his name:
FIRST—Saul was his Hebrew (Jewish) name and Paul was his Greek name (to the gentiles). So, with this in mind you will see that Saul and Paul are interchangeable.

SECOND—Saul, not Paul, is used several times after Jesus apprehended Saul on the road to Damascus. It is not a Christian conversion. If there is any sort of conversion, it is a personal transformation through Jesus. So, Saul, Paul, a Christian (a follower of the Christ) is now a follower of Jesus as the Christ.

The second is the MISCONCEPTION OF HIS CONVERSION. What was the core of Paul’s belief? Why was he so triggered by the followers of Jesus to the point of putting so much energy into stopping them? The core of his beliefs was the hope of the Messiah, Who would someday come and bring deliverance to His people. The followers of Jesus just didn’t fit into the “accepted” way of the Messiah Paul was looking for. In other words, Paul was looking for and protecting the purity of the coming of the Messiah. Or even more to the point, Paul was a devoted follower of the Messiah, the Christ. Paul could be called a Christian.

Now, as a Christian, Jesus apprehended his life on the road to Damascus. Jesus is still actively apprehending people’s lives today—non-Christians AND Christians.

The third is the MISCONCEPTION OF HIS MESSAGE. When Saul-Paul was blinded, he was sent to Ananias in Damascus to get relief. Ananias was given by God what Paul should say and do. But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel—(Acts 9:15). Paul’s message that he was to proclaim was very, very simple. He was to proclaim the name of Jesus.

The fourth is the MISCONCEPTION OF HIS MISSION. In the same verse Paul is given a specific mission—to proclaim the name of Jesus to three groupings of people. The three groups are the gentiles, their kings and the house of Israel. Paul was not just to speak to the gentiles as is normally taught.

Normally Peter is viewed as the one who speaks to the Jews and Paul is the one who speaks to the gentiles. However Peter is led by God to speak to the non-believer gentiles in Acts 10 and Paul continually speaks to a group of the believing Jews.

These are four common illustrations of how Paul and his mission are grossly misunderstood. Once you understand who Paul was and how Jesus came into his understanding, then it is much easier to make sense out of how Jesus works today. Paul doesn’t want to be a Christian. He tried that and found it lacking. Then he met Jesus. Jesus apprehended him on the road to Damascus.

Here’s the question: “Have you allowed Jesus, Himself, to apprehend your life?”


Jesus shows up “where two or three come together in His name.”

When Jesus shows up no one is the same again.
• The dead are brought back to life.
• The blind see.
• The lame walk.
• The deaf hear.
• The mute talk.
• Enemies and rivals become friends.
• Women’s status is elevated.
• The poor are made rich.
• The rich realize their poverty.
• The lost are found.
• The weak finds strength.
• The strong are made aware of weakness.

No transformation is more vivid than what happened to the early disciples. They were weak-willed and timid, then found inner strength and courage. The usual reason given for this dramatic life-change is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

The resurrection is no doubt paramount, however I see their transformation coming from something else. Jesus spent 40 days with the disciples, where He spoke to them about the kingdom of God. Check out what Peter shared regarding that time, when he spoke to those gathered in the house of Cornelius: "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

I think the real transformation took place during the time spent with Jesus, eating and drinking and discussing principles of the kingdom of God. And, this is the same today. When two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus, He will show up and make a significant difference in all who see Him.

In E. Stanley Jones’ book, Christ On the Indian Road, he shares this same principle of Jesus within the Indian culture. He says, “Jesus does not stand before the blind and the leper and the poor and the sinner and discourse philosophically on why they are in such condition, but lays His hands of sympathy upon them and heals them through his servants; and more—he puts his gentle but condemning finger upon the conscience of the hale and hearty Pharisee in the crowd and asks why he has allowed all this.”

Jones goes on to say, “Christ is confronting men everywhere. He has got hold of us. A Hindu lawyer of fine ability gave an address to which I listened on the topic, ‘The Inescapable Christ.’ He said: “We have not been able to escape him. There was a time when our hearts were bitter and sore against him, but he is melting them by his own winsomeness. Jesus is slowly but surely entering all men in India—all men.’”

“How is it possible to limit or demarcate the lines of the Kingdom any more? He steps beyond them, and shocked and frightened like the Pharisees of other days we stand and wonder how far he will go in his warm sympathy and understanding. He eats with publicans and sinners and with the Hindu, too. No wonder H. G. Wells in summing up the influence of Jesus upon human history in his Outline of History exclaims, ‘The Galilean has been too great for our small hearts.’”

Now, here’s my point. If Jesus brings positive transformation in every life He encounters, then doesn’t it make sense for us to introduce everyone we can to this Jesus? You see, when Jesus shows up, no one is ever the same again!