Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

Jesus' Special Call XXXIV

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GOD'S SECRETS REVEALED

Part XXXIV

Jesus' Special Call


 

The Christian Jews who were leaving Judea were not safe wherever they went. Those who disliked Jesus and His followers were going far and wide to give them trouble. One of the most feared was a man called Saul (a very educated man, a member of the Pharisees, the rolling class).

He got letters of permission from the high priest to arrest any believers in Jesus and to bring them to Jerusalem to be tried and punished. This particular day he was on his way to Damascus with a few men brought along to help him find Christians. Suddenly, as they walked, a very bright streak of light from Heaven struck him and knocked him to the ground. Then, a voice from Heaven asked him, “Why are you persecuting Me?” Saul responded with, “Who are You Lord?” The voice answered, “I AM Jesus whom you are persecuting.”

Now Saul was not exactly persecuting the person, Jesus, but Jesus feels with and for His brothers and sisters so when they're hurting Jesus feels the pain.

Saul said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” The men that were with Saul heard a voice, saw no one and were afraid. When Saul got up he found he could not see. He had been struck blind by the bright light so his men took him by the hand and led Saul to Damascus.

Why did Jesus use this method on Saul? Saul was a hard, proud, stubborn man and Jesus met him on his own ground. He had to use a tough method to make Saul stop and listen.

Much of the world today is built on a selfish greed for money. Did God show some the value of money when the stock market lost over a trillion dollars? How many lost a lot of money that they had hoped would bring them easy times and freedom? Money is not the last word in true happiness, but how we use it may be.

When Saul came to Damascus he was blind for three days, not eating or drinking but praying. Jesus spoke to a man in the city and told him to go and see Saul and pray for him then he would have his sight restored. When the man heard the name Saul he was afraid for he knew what Saul had been doing. But God reassured him that Saul had changed. He went and prayed for Saul, as he was instructed to do, and Saul was healed.

Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, had met Jesus and now started to preach Jesus' love and sacrifice. Paul became the greatest preacher (next to Jesus) in the new testament.

Paul traveled a great deal. He set up churches and was faced with a lot of persecution from the non-Christian Jews (as well as the Gentiles) because they had lost a lot of people to Jesus through Paul's preaching.

Paul left us some nice descriptions of Jesus' promised return to take His faithful followers home at the end. Paul was beaten, stoned and shipwrecked but continued to preach Jesus, salvation and Heaven.

Paul was getting older, his enemies bolder. He was sent to Rome as a prisoner, to stand trial before Caesar. On the way, winter overtook the ship he was on in the Mediterranean. The weather was getting worse for shipping and Paul told the captain to winter at a port where it was safe. The captain ignored his advice and left anyway. Out in the open sea they met a violent storm, they unloaded the cargo in an attempt to save themselves, but the ship was lost. The crew made it to shore and then finally, to Rome.

In Rome, Paul became a prisoner but not in a jail. God had His hand over the aging preacher. He was given a separate house where he was looked after. A soldier guarded him all the time and people were free to come and go. Paul told the story of Jesus to all who came. His enemies thought they had silenced him, but Paul did some of his greatest work where his enemies could not reach him.

The gospel went from that house far and wide by letter, by men Paul had trained then sent to different areas and even by soldiers who listened to Paul as he talked to the people who had come to Paul's house.

In a letter to the Philippians, Paul said, “...they of Caesar's household, send you greetings...” The gospel had gone into the home of Caesar and some there had accepted Jesus.

Jesus wanted the good news to be heard by everyone! He uses various ways and people to accomplish this invitation of everlasting life and happiness. World conditions tell us it is time to take this invitation seriously.


 

Next week: The Young Man Jesus Loved