Jesus’ Life: Chapter 20 – Early Spread Of Gospel By the Disciples
Paul’s insight and understanding of Jesus’ Gospel, was not gained from the Twelve Apostles nor from other disciples; his only prior indirect association with them was through his reign of persecution. Instead, he “received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ”. (Galatians 1:11-12)
Following his conversion, Paul “departed to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus”. (Galatians 1:17) It’s easy to imagine that, while in Arabia, he spent the time in solitary repentance for his sins, reflecting, praying and in togetherness with the Risen Jesus.
On his return to Damascus, Paul continued to boldly preach and teach in the synagogues, and people courageously and joyously accepted Jesus as their Messiah, overcoming their initial fears of Paul as a persecutor.
However, Paul’s teachings also received the unwelcome attention of Jews who didn’t believe his Christian message and they felt under threat. They planned to “arrest” and “kill him,” and the Governor, under King Aretas, ordered the guarding of the city gates, both day and night, for fear he would try to leave. (Acts 9:23; 2 Corinthians 11:32)
When Paul’s disciples became aware of the plot, they used a rope-basket to lower him from a window of the fortified city wall and accompanied him safely to Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, Paul’s historical notoriety as an unrelenting persecutor of Christians some three years earlier was not forgotten and “they were all afraid of him”. (Acts 9:26) Yet, Barnabus who may possibly have known Paul in his earlier years, took him to the Apostles (Peter and James) and they, after listening to how Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and his conversion, accepted him as a disciple and he “associated openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord”. (Galatians 1:18-19; Acts 9:28)
Paul stayed in Jerusalem for only 15 days. Once the Greek-speaking Jews, who supported him in his reign of terror, heard of his conversion they wanted to “kill him”. When other disciples discovered the danger, they took him to Caesarea and from there, Paul travelled to Tarsus. (Acts 9:29) (Acts 9:23-31)
When did I last put quality time aside to reflect on my life?
Lord Jesus, help me to see my mistakes, the parts of my life that do not conform to your teachings and hurt others. Amen.
Prayer: Priests and Religious
St Paul, great convert and Apostle,
guide all priests and religious.
Help them realise that their actions
speak louder than any words.
Teach them to use their talents
to convey God’s message
but, to rely above all,
on the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Amen.