Monday, March 2, 2009

Thorns and Guilt

Paul talked about having a thorn in his flesh. I've often wondered if his thorn was guilt. Before Paul had his meeting with Jesus, he was Saul of Tarsus: feared by all Christians. Saul would have Christians beat and thrown into jail because of their beliefs. When he was younger, he even held the cloaks for the men that were stoning Stephen to his death.

Saul knew that Damascus would be an ideal place to locate Christians. He set out on planning his course of destruction. His mission: to rid all of Damascus and the surrounding area of the followers of Christ.

He was given the go ahead to implement his plan however it never came to fruition. He was stopped in his tracks!

Not only was Saul blinded by the light but Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus. "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

"Who are you, Lord?"

"Jesus, the one whom you persecute."

Saul's companions had to lead him into the city because Saul was blind. He remained this way until God asked Ananias to go and pray over Saul. In the meantime, Saul was praying and God was working a miracle in this man's heart.

God was forgiving Saul for killing and persecuting the Christians. He was also preparing Saul to become one of his servants.

Ananais didn't want to pray over Saul because he knew about Saul's reputation. He feared for his life. Despite his reluctance he did, because God explained that he had a purpose for Saul's life.

Saul's name changed to Paul and the old nature of Saul was replaced with Paul's new nature in Christ. Christians were hesitant to trust him at first, but after awhile that changed.

Paul must have felt, guilt, shame and remorse about his life as Saul. In the same way that we feel guilt, shame and remorse from our sin.