THE APOSTLE PAUL’S ENCOUNTER, AS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF ACTS
Often it takes someone’s example to help us understand a situation or opportunity. Here is an example straight out of the Bible about a Jewish zealot who had a shocking encounter with God.
[The above interview is from the upcoming book, “Encounters with God Interviews, Vol. 1.”]
Q: Paul, at what age did you first hear the name God or Jesus Christ?
A: I was a young man; a zealot—a defender of Israel—of Moses!
Q: In your life, did you gradually come to know God/Jesus in a larger way, or was there an exact event or time that made you go directly to God for help with a situation?
A: Yes, but not in the way you might think. I kept hearing about “Jesus” and I made it my duty to ferret out His “Church,” entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
Q: How old were you when you had your first transformative encounter with God?
A: I assume I was 30 years of age.
Q: What were you doing the day you gave your life (your will) to God?
A: I was journeying with letters to the Damascus synagogues so I could bring anyone I found who was following “The Way of Jesus” back for judgement.
Q: What time of day was it?
Q: Did you set aside a plan or appointment to make time for this appeal/prayer?
A: Yes, I had no choice. Someone knocked me off my horse. A voice calling himself “Jesus” asked me why I was “persecuting” Him. He told me to go to the city and there I would be told what I must do.
Q: Where were you: A house; a church? A room? Were you outside? In the backyard/porch/park/lake, etc.
A: I was outside on a road traveling to Damascus.
Q: What was the weather like where you were? Were you sitting, standing, lying down, or kneeling?
A: The weather was clear, and I was lying on the road.
Q: Did you see or do anything?
A: When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t see anything. A bright light let me blind!
Q: Was someone with you?
A: Men journeyed with me and heard the voice but saw no one.
Q: If you can remember your exact words, please tell me; if not, tell me what you think you might have said to God.
A: I said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Q: Describe how you might have felt… relieved, exhausted, confused, hopeful?
A: Confused! But He told me to, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must
Q: What was the first thing you did afterward?
A: I obeyed. The men with me helped me get to the city. After three days, a disciple of Jesus named Ananias entered the house; and laying hands on me, he said, “Brother Saul, The Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Q: Did you tell anyone right away that you had “found and accepted the living God into your life?” What was your relationship with those you told?
A: Yes, I got up and became baptized! Then, I ate, got strong, and spent some days with the disciples—the very ones I came to arrest!
Q: Briefly describe how this encounter affected the rest of your life?
A: Immediately after, I preached, “Christ Jesus is the Son of God” in the synagogues and where ever he led me so I could encourage others to know Him and spread the God’s “good word” until I was about 60 years of age.
Paul’s encounter helps us see that no matter what we may have done in our life, God is merciful and forgiving. Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to a wooden cross. With arms outstretched, He showed how much God loves us, and asked His Father to forgive us ALL.
In his own words, as written to Timothy, Chapter 1: 13-15, Paul reiterates how cruel he had been to the
very early Christians. He says, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
The above message, written to Timothy, shows Paul never forgot His sin against God’s many followers.
Nor can we forget our sin when we rebel against God and performed despicable acts, but remembering doesn’t mean we aren’t forgiven!
God grants forgiveness to everyone who sincerely wants to follow Him, especially if those who did not know God or His love and mercy for us committed their sin in ignorance. Remember His words on the cross? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Mark 23:34.)
Christ forgave us so we can forgive ourselves! If you feel moved to do so, go to our website and take the first step in accepting His forgiveness, be washed clean from the dirt of any previous offense, and move
forward as if reborn—a new life, beginning right now!
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