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Snapshots of Saul's conversion

Why did Jesus speak to Paul in the Hebrew Language?

On the way to his next roundup of Christian’s, Saul is confronted by a light that he recognizes as God's glory.

Acts 9:3-5 and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."

How was he persecuting Jesus? Because Jesus considered the believers, the Church his own body, a bride for him as the groom.

Right after he is saved, “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 9:22)

1 Cor. 9: 20 “and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews.”

Paul was sent specifically to the Gentiles but he sought out the Jews in the city first. Remaining true to his first call.

He explains who he is the Phillipian church Phil 3:5-8 “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

Paul said he gave up the law, his position of a Pharisee of all Pharisee’s to receive and live in Christ.

We later discover from Paul’s testimony to Agrippa in Acts 26:14-16 “And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' "So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Jesus spoke the Hebrew language, Saul’s native tongue for Saul to know he is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who has stopped him and chosen him for a lifetime mission (to the Gentile world is made clear later). Hebrew was the language spoken in the religious services in the synagogues and Temple. Aramaic, along with Greek was spoken in everyday life outside the religious meetings.

Saul describes himself as from the Tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews (Phil.3:5-6) a Pharisee; the law keeper, who was persecuting the church until he met the Lord.

Acts 26:19-20 " Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.”

In Acts 21:29 they accuse Paul as teaching all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and brought Greeks into the temple defiling it.

V. 30 “all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.” The commander of the garrison of this uproar. And dispatched soldiers and centurions, … when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul .” V.33 Then the commander asks who he was and what he had done. They all spoke confusing stories so he took Paul into the barracks. V. 36 the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, "Away with him!" (like they did with Jesus)

Paul asked, "May I speak to you?" He replied, "Can you speak Greek? He mistook Paul for an Egyptian who stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?" V.39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people. " V.40 he gave him permission, “Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying, "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now." (Acts 22:1 -8)They became silent, listening, He then proceeded to give them his testimony of salvation on the road to Damascus. As he saw the light and Jesus identified himself to him, he was blinded after and had to wait for Ananias that received a vision to come to him to lay hands on him to pray (for he will be sent as a witness to the gentiles) to receive his sight back, be filled with the Spirit and he then is baptized.

Acts 9:20-22 “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”

Instead of his planned arrests it says, v. 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus , proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”

This became a common occurrence for Paul to follow the mandate of the gospel to the Jew first,

Rom 1:16 it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

As he went into the synagogues he spoke Hebrew to them for the Lord spoke Hebrew to him. Since he would relay to the Jews what God has said it would be in their tongue of Hebrew. To the Gentiles he spoke Greek.

He writes, 1 Cor. 1:23-24 “ but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

His goal in witnessing to the gentiles and Jews Phil 2:9-11 “ God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

His goal to teaching Gentiles in the church:

Col 1:27-29 “ To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you , the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”

Concerned for the Galatian church that was adopting the law removing them from grace Gal. 4:19 “ My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.”


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