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Circumstantial Evidence of the Resurrection
Page 3: And then there Was Saul

Perhaps the most dramatic change in attitude came from Saul of Tarsus, a Jewish persecutor of the church. Even if all of the other disciples somehow were fooled, it is clear that Saul was not. Prior to his remarkable transformation from Pharisee to Christian, Saul was completely devoted and loyal to the Jewish leadership, and committed to stamping out Christianity.

"I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished." (Acts 22:4-5)

Why would such a man, so zealous for God, so committed to the Jewish tradition, suddenly change his life so dramatically? Why would Saul (who would later be called Paul) change from a life of political power, wealth, and stature, to die a martyr for a lie? Maybe it was not a lie. Perhaps the answer is in 1 Corinthians 15:8,

"and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also."

There is a personal application here that should not be passed over. Saul's change from Pharisee to Christian was a dramatic one. Suppose someone came knocking on your door peddling a belief system that you passionately oppose. I'm not speaking of something that you don't care about, but something that you heartily oppose. Perhaps Mormonism or Hinduism. Or how about Communism, or Marxism. Here is the application: What would it take to get you to suddenly become a fervent supporter of that belief system? I have asked that question in classes from time to time and the answer is nearly always the same--a miracle.

Saul was not just indifferent about Christianity. He was actively hauling people in and throwing them in jail. He was arduously working to stamp out the cause. Then suddenly and without warning, Saul became a Christian, working just as fervently to promote the cause he once tried to destroy.

"Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but only, they kept hearing, 'He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.' And they were glorifying God because of me." (Galatians 1:21-24)

The disciples were zealous and dedicated to what they believed in, but it was not a blind faith. They would not easily be swayed, and it is ridiculous to think that these men were stupid enough to be fooled by some fabricated tale of Christ's resurrection. They saw something. They were eyewitnesses to His life and resurrection, in order that they might testify to others that He has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.

"We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead." (Acts 10:39-42)

It Was Taken for Granted in Scripture -->

 Article info: 
By: Bill Smith
This article is adapted from Bill's book Firmly Rooted. Click here to learn how to get a copy.

 This Series: 
1 The Silence of Jewish Leaders
2 The Change in the Disciples' Attitude
3 And then there Was Saul
4 It Was Taken for Granted in Scripture
5 The Change to Sunday Worship
6 The Sacrament of Baptism
7 Disregard for the Tomb
8 The Success of the Church
9 Jesus Foretold His Death and Resurrection
10 Women Saw Him First
11 The Grave Clothes Were Left Behind
12 What Happened on Pentecost

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