Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #7
TEXT: Acts 9:1-6
So far in this Easter Week series, we have talked about the power of the resurrection as it pertains to those who are already following Jesus Christ. But the power of the resurrection extends even to unbelievers -- and not just to passive unbelievers but to those who hate the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts chapter 9 introduces us to one of these haters of the Gospel -- a man named Saul, more commonly known as Paul. He was a Jew dedicated to the persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ. As you might recall, after Jesus' tomb was found to be empty, the Jewish authorities paid the Roman guards to say that the disciples had come and stolen Jesus' body. They did not want the word to get out that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. They knew that if that got out among the people, the 'Jesus movement' of the first century would be back in full swing.
Of course, as we saw from Acts chapter 2, the disciples of Christ were boldly preaching in Jerusalem that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and so the Jewish leaders set about to stamp out all of those who followed Christ. This is where Saul comes in. Saul was a well-educated man who was evidently very favored by the religious authorities. He had been born in Tarsus, his father was a Pharisee, and he had been trained in tentmaking. We don’t know what Saul looked like, but an ancient source states that he was "a man of moderate stature, with crisp hair, crooked legs, blue eyes, large knit brows, and a long nose."
The Jewish authorities were relying on Saul to help them eradicate the followers of the Way. We read that he was "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord."
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