“At that time the members of the churches in Judea did not know me personally. They knew only what others were saying, ‘The man who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy!’”
Gal 1:22, 23 GNB
It is not often that people change their religious beliefs radically. We tend to think that the faith in which we were brought up is the last word and we will stand by it to the death. A religion that is based on events thousands of years ago has an even stronger traditional base that persists despite attempts by reformers to change it, and modernize it.
Like many other Jewish people at the time Paul had considered the rise of Christianity to be a threat to his faith. He opposed it and even got involved in persecuting it. He was on his way to Damascus to kill the Christians there when Christ met him on the road in a strange vision and claimed him for his own disciple. By this time Paul had become notorious amongst the Christian disciples for his efforts to eradicate them. When, back in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, they heard that this monster was now preaching of Christ and the salvation that was available in him, it was too much for them. They could not believe it. It was too good to be true. And it probably took them a long time to get used to the idea that Paul was now on their side.
It was, of course, a miracle. It was a miracle of grace and one of the most amazing of all time. Look for miracles of God’s grace in your church community now.
Lord, let us see miracles of your grace again today.