THIS ISSUE’S THOUGHT PROVOKER
Have you Ever Pondered why Paul was so Bold?
To give you some idea of how brazen Paul was one need only read II Corinthians 11:23-28,
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. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.II Corinthians 11:23-28
As you can see, Paul did not have a particularly joyful time of it during his ministry, as we see in verse 25: 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. Yet, as you well know, he never backed off his dedication to God and the Ministry.
Now, we know that John, James, Peter and the boys were equally bold, but they had a completely different approach to that boldness. They had been with Jesus during his three year ministry – Saul/Paul was planning His demise; They were in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit came upon them – Saul/Paul was with the boys in the Sanhedrin reveling in the fact He was gone – – even if it was supposedly on a cloud; They were seeing thousands added to the Church Daily – Saul/Paul was acquiring Arrest Warrants to lock them up as soon as they joined the Church.
So…. I ask again: Why was Saul/Paul so bold? The answer, I think, is found in Acts 9:1-18,
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 7And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.Acts 9:1-18
As I am sure you know, Saul/Paul was blind for three days, as indicated in Verse 9. Now, when he finally receives his sight back, Verse 18 tells us what happened – …there fell from his eyes as it had been scales. I firmly believe that these “scales” prevented Saul/Paul from looking into the “natural world” even if he wanted to! So, if he couldn’t see what was around him, what did he see? To answer that question we must go to another Scripture: II Corinthians 12:2,
2 I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.II Corinthians 12:2
It is pretty much accepted that “the man” Paul talks about in Verse 2 was Paul himself. And, fourteen years earlier was when he had been converted on the Road to Damascus! So, with this thought in mind I think it is safe to assume that for the three days his body was in Damascus his Spirit was in Heaven. Now, look at the discussion Paul and God had in verses 9 & 10: 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
There you have it – – I THINK!!! Paul was so Bold because he had already been to Heaven; had already talked with Jesus face to face; had already understood that “when we are weak, then are we strong!” If you have another thought as to why Paul was so Bold, please let us know and we will share it in the next Issue of GOD’S GOOD NEWS GAZETTE!!!