PHIL.3:5 – “circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;”
Saul of Tarsus, known to us as the Apostle Paul, was at the top of his game. He had been raised for this, being taught at Gamaliel’s feet from his childhood. He was a leading Pharisee, charged with the duty to root out and destroy this new religious cult called the Way. Paul hated these people, these Christians, he saw them as a threat to his stature and prominence as a leader in Israel. It all came to a screeching halt that day on the Damascus Road. Paul was said to be “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” until that life changing interruption when Jesus suddenly appeared and Saul found himself in the dirt. In those moments in the presence of the Lord everything changed. This interruption was one that would change Saul into Paul and a Jewish sect into a worldwide religion. Paul nor the world could ever be the same.
Paul’s dogma was about to experience dramatic and permanent transformation. First he began to see Jesus as the Savior. Rather than a preacher of the law this converted Pharisee was a preacher of the cross. 1 Cor.1:18 – “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The cross that brought salvation became central to Paul’s message. We also see that Paul caught a glimpse of the heavenly ministry of Jesus. Rom.8:33,34 – “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Paul saw Jesus as the resurrected, glorified heavenly high priest. Out of this Paul saw Jesus as our Advocate, Intercessor, and heavenly High Priest.
Paul also clearly saw freedom from our old life in Christ’s work on the cross. Gal.2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Out of this glimpse of the glory of the Lord Paul taught that our old life is dead, we are not the people we used to be. He also saw that we are alive now with the resurrection life of Christ in us. Paul also introduced the modern concept of the local church to us. Gal.2:20 – “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,”
Just one moment changed everything for Paul. Maybe we too need an interruption, an interruption that reveals Christ Himself to us.