Thursday, March 2, 2023
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And 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” (Acts 9:1,2 KJV).
Behold, Saul possesses worthless papers!
It is not uncommon in this world to see people parading their “degrees,” whose specialty in one field (or, a few fields) of study has caused them to now be under the impression they can comment authoritatively on any and every topic. To be sure, Saul of Tarsus had rabbinical training, having sat under the most eminent teacher of Judaism of the day (see Acts 22:3 and Acts 5:34)—Gamaliel known to orthodox Jews even now. Saul assumed he knew all there was to know about religion. He was a master at it. He would have had the equivalent of a doctorate in theology, being proficient not only in Hebrew, but Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and perhaps other languages. Knowing the Hebrew Bible, he had also been familiarized with Greek philosophy.
Furthermore, Saul had received from the highest-ranking religious leaders of Israel the legal power to round up any believing Jews who had found refuge in Damascus. Carrying those warrants and leading a party of troops, he is just outside of the city when he meets the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ! Whatever credentials Saul had, he realized they were useless at this point. Such worldly wisdom, such secular power, such religiosity, was worthless. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?… I am Jesus whom thou persecutest…” (Acts 9:4,5). The God he thought he was worshipping was the very God he was upsetting!
“And 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 to Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink” (verses 8,9). Once physically sighted but spiritually blind, he is now spiritually sighted but physically blind. His religious training is of no use to him now. Those warrants are unusable. There he is, vulnerable in Damascus, among the very people he had come to destroy….