Saul, First King of Israel - Essay Example

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First Saul is mentioned in Acts depicted as a thirty year old man: "the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul" (Acts 7:58). For a long time, he commits people to prison and cause them to suffer. There is one great leader who for a time built his thinking and action upon the fact of Jesus' crucifixion…
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Saul, First King of Israel
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Religion Journal First Saul is mentioned in Acts depicted as a thirty year old man: "the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul" (Acts 7:58). For a long time, he commits people to prison and cause them to suffer. There is one great leader who for a time built his thinking and action upon the fact of Jesus' crucifixion. That was Saul of Tarsus -- before his conversion. The Crucifixion proved to him that God had disowned Jesus, that Jesus was a fraud, that his claim was therefore false, and his followers deluded. Therefore, Saul persecuted the church and denounced Jesus. It is possible to assume that Saul has changed and understands such things as universal love, truth and accepts the Holy Spirit.
Following Elwell (1991, p. 54) Saul understand a new fact interpreted the Cross. Christians are Christians and speak with conviction of the immense meaning of the Cross solely because another fact has come into the picture, a fact which reverses the apparent meaning of the Cross and enables the believer to see its real place in God's redemptive work. Saul the persecutor of the church illustrates the difference. Before his conversion he knew that Jesus had been crucified, and he took it to prove that Jesus has been disowned by God and rightly rejected by Jewish leaders. Once converted, he saw in the Cross a quite different meaning; in the light of the Resurrection it had a positive and central place in a message that claimed the faith of men ( I Cor. 2:2). But it had that place and meaning only because the Resurrection supplied the interpreting fact that gave the Cross its true place in the Christian message.
The Bible mentions this event as "Saul, who is also called Paul" (Acts 13:9). It is possible to say that a new name means a new life for this person. It means a new destiny and mentality. It is important to note the role of the human mind in the guidance of the Spirit. The Spirit comes into a life, the mind must abdicate. Paul indicates that in the church at Corinth, prophets regularly took part in services of worship, and that he himself had and exercised this gift ( I Cor. 12:10). The Spirit gave prophetic guidance to the church in crises and also in more regular services of worship. The preaching of the church tells a story and interprets it. It uses the mind; it challenges the mind as well as the imagination and the will. Worship, too, involves at least some recognition of the truth of the message; faith includes mental action. Also, it is possible to assume that a new name helps Saul to escape revenge from those people he committed to prison.
The new name means a new spirit and soul, new attitude towards people and the world. The Spirit guides in the choice of leaders; the Spirit gives them competence and power for their work. Patient endurance of wrong was no doubt an effective witness to bystanders. In view of the great amount of ill treatment which the early Christians received, we might have expected repeated emphasis on this point, but in fact it is almost never mentioned. This was what the Spirit prompted men to do. Paul could think of no higher privilege and duty than to preach the gospel, and so he left baptizing to his helpers and concentrated on presenting the gospel to men and pressing them to put their faith in Christ. The Bible depicts that The apostles began at Jerusalem; they stubbornly stayed there ( Acts 8:1); only the rough hand of persecution scattered the church and taught it that Gentiles too would receive the gospel. It was not the Twelve but the Greekspeaking Jewish Christians who traveled the way to the gentile lands and peoples. Even they had to be scattered by persecution, and even then it was, humanly speaking, almost by accident that they found Gentiles equally open to the gospel message ( Acts 11:19-26). But they took the step, and they followed it up. The apostle Paul emerged as the master statesman of the gentile mission and became the supreme theological and literary defender of that step. Once he had fought out to a successful conclusion his claim.
Works Cited
1. The Bible.
2. Elwell, W.A. Topical Analysis of the Bible: With the New International Version (Baker Reference Library). Baker Book House, 1991. Read More
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