3 Lessons From Saul’s First Days as a Christian
Saul of Tarsus, a persecutor of the church, became a Christian. The Bible tells us simply that Saul spent certain days with the disciples in Damascus (Acts 9:19). These first days would have been eventful.
1. Saul showed fruits of repentance. We can only guess at how Saul was received by those he once persecuted. Later, in Jerusalem, Saul would have some difficulty because the saints were afraid of him. There is no mention of any such fear in Damascus however it is reasonable to assume there would be some trepidation on their part. Perhaps word had spread of the events on the road to Damascus from those who had come with Saul. Still, their story would have been incomplete, since they did not hear what Jesus said to Saul, and likely insufficient to sway the brethren in Damascus (Acts 22:9). Saul proved his repentance to the brethren with his works including preaching in the synagogues the gospel of Christ. We should not find it unreasonable to expect fruits worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8). Likely Saul understood the fear his new brethren had towards him. Saul would have to show them that he had truly repented. It would not take long for him to get his opportunities.
2. Saul began to preach the gospel immediately. There is no need for a new convert to wait before he tries to convince others to obey the gospel. Some might argue that we should persuade new Christians to wait until they are more seasoned to try to study with their friends and family. Why would we want to quell their zeal? With that logic I should not study with non-Christians after being a Christian for ten years because I’ll be better prepared for it after my twentieth year. We should all do the best we can to spread the gospel at every stage of our Christian lives. Saul certainly had developed a reputation and it is no wonder that the people who heard his preaching were amazed that he would preach that Jesus is the Christ. Saul continued to grow in strength spiritually and mentally as he expounded the scriptures to the Jews in the synagogue.
3. Saul confounded the Jews. They were perplexed by the arguments given from the Old Testament scriptures. These Jews had been suffering from misunderstandings of scripture perpetuated by the rulers of the divided religious culture and the insufficient standards of the day. When God’s word is preached in its simplicity it can provide understanding and light, even for the simple (Psalm 119:130). Eventually the Jews decided to try and kill Saul. They watched the gates so that he wouldn’t be able to escape from Damascus. Saul’s brethren were kind to him, helping him escape by lowering him over the city wall in a basket. Saul would be allowed to continue his preaching in Jerusalem. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Saul was a great Christian, even before he was the apostle Paul. How are you doing as a Christian today? “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Hebrews 5:12).