Saul in Damascus
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 1 Tuesday
Read the second paragraph,
“The appearance of Jesus to him on the Damascus road changed everything. Where Saul had thought he had been so right, he had been dead wrong. Rather than working for God, he had been working against Him. Saul entered Damascus a different man than the proud and zealous Pharisee who had left Jerusalem. Instead of eating and drinking, Saul spent his first three days in Damascus in fasting and prayer as he reflected on all that had happened.”
Could Saul of Tarsus have known the truth without this intervention? In other words, was there enough truth revealed in the OT and by the witness of Stephen and the other Apostles that was sufficient to convert Saul? Why then wasn’t Saul converted by the Scriptures, the witness of Stephen and the other Apostles?
Because Saul had such biases he rejected the meaning, and it took a special event to get him to step back and reevaluate.
Notice what the Damascus road did and what it did NOT do.
- Did the Damascus road download into Saul’s brain a new life history?
- Did it give him a sudden new set of memories?
- Did he have new Bible verses memorized in his mind?
- What did it do?
- It gave him reason to step back and say, “Wait a minute, my CONCLUSIONS about all I have
studied are wrong. I need to rethink, reevaluate and come to new understanding of all I have previously thought.”
- So, did he get a new Bible, or did he use the same OT Scriptures?
- But what was different?
- His mind was now motivated to understand the meaning without the false legal bias he was raised with, to see that God had a plan to heal through Jesus.
What about today—have you met people who simply refuse to rethink and reexamine evidence. They are so convinced they are right they won’t even allow for another possibility?
What will cause them to rethink? A life crisis, some event that doesn’t fit with their understanding, are such events punishments…or therapeutic interventions?
Now, did God force Saul to come to new conclusions? Did God over ride Saul’s autonomy and self- determination.
Some think God by appearing in this way did overwhelm Saul’s self-determination and forced Saul to conversion; that it was denying Saul free will. Any evidence to refute this claim?
- Pharaoh—how many miracles were shown to Pharaoh and did Pharaoh convert?
- What about those who came to arrest Jesus? Jesus’ divinity flashed through and they fell down, just like Saul on the Damascus road, and then they got to see Jesus reach out and put an ear back on—and what did they do? They still arrested Jesus and killed Him.
- So did the use of blinding light to cause Saul to fall down and rethink over ride Saul’s free choice? No!
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