Each day this month, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all he’s done for us in Christ.
I want to meet the apostle Paul in eternity. I love this intrepid proclaimer of the faith. God uses his writings to deeply minister to my soul. But I’m guessing I’ll find his appearance unimpressive. Traditional sources describe him as short, bald and suffering from some kind of eye malady.
The apostle Paul stands as one of the most important figures in Christianity. The early Church leaders agreed that Peter served as the apostle to the Jews and Paul the apostle to the gentiles (non-Jews).
Yet within decades, the gentile Church developed into a dominant force in Christianity. The emergence of the gentile Church became the way God spread his love to the ends of the earth.
Many acknowledge Paul as a brilliant communicator, but he claimed he did not preach with “wisdom or eloquence” (1 Corinthians 1:17). He fiercely taught the truth, yet he dealt gently with others, tenderly soothing conflicts and becoming “all things to all people” (1 Corinthians 9:22). His theology was rooted in the traditions of the past, yet he adapted to his “modern” world (Acts 17:23,28).
In one breath, he would demand the respect due to any apostle; in the next breath, he’d claim to be “least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9). Paul’s famous encounter on the Damascus road transformed him from a persecutor of God’s people to their greatest champion.
Maybe you and I will meet this spiritual pioneer in heaven, but we can get to know him now. We can read about his missionary journeys in the second half of the book of Acts (chapters 13-28). Then we can read his thirteen richly rewarding letters in the New Testament (Romans-Philemon). In these, we get a glimpse of the apostle Paul, the “worst of sinners” and one of the greatest of Christians.
Lord Jesus, thank you for calling Paul as an apostle to the gentiles, and for inspiring him to write so much of the New Testament Scriptures. Thank you for using those writings to help me grow in my faith and draw ever closer to you. Amen.
Throughout This Day: Pick one of Paul’s epistles and read it before you go off to sleep tonight. What treasures do you find within its pages?
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