Reading: Galatians 1: 11-24
Paul, as the most zealous persecutor of the early church, was probably the most unlikely to become one of the great apostles of the early church. He was about as far as one could be from Jesus Christ. His mission in life was to wipe this new faith off the face of the earth. Yet God, in His amazing grace, claimed Paul to be one of His own. God took the one who persecuted, imprisoned, and even murdered Christians and made him into an excellent witness for Jesus and the church. Paul realizes this miraculous change in his life and it becomes his call to ministry. If God could reclaim him, God could reclaim anyone. Paul also sees in Jesus another example of one who would reclaim any and all. In his own life and in the example of Jesus, Paul came to know a God who loved everyone and desperately wanted all to be a child of God. This became Paul’s mission as an evangelist supreme.
It was primarily through Paul that the church came to really understand Jesus’ command to ‘make disciples of all nations and peoples’. Jesus really meant all. The grace that Paul experienced was a grace that all people everywhere were intended to experience as well. Paul was so gripped by God and Christ’s presence in him that he sought to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, to all of the known world.
Paul’s life is an excellent example for us in two ways. First, God will use anyone to spread the gospel. If God chose and used Paul, all of us are fair game. There is no one that God cannot use, no one that He does not want to use. Second, Paul taught us that we need to share Christ with all people. Through his own transformation, Paul knew the need for transformation in all people’s lives. He sought to help all to come to know Christ so that they too could experience His transforming grace in their lives. This day and every day may we, like Paul, live into God’s call on our lives to be both examples and witnesses to the transformation that God has made in us, so that all we know may come to experience the same in their lives.