A quick aside, I love how written language fails to communicate so many things. Take the title of this post. What does it mean? I am asking, “Why did you do that, Paul?” Or, “Why choose Paul?” Or something else entirely? In much the same way, we fail to fully understand what Paul/Saul meant in Acts 9 when he said, “Who are you Lord?”
Why did God choose to use Saul/Paul the way that He did? Here we have a guy who wasn’t along for the ride with the Messiah as the disciples were, and yet he is the principle author of most of the theological writings that we take to compose our beliefs. Why was Paul important, why not one of the 12 chosen before?
It seemed to me that this was a pretty important part of understanding the New Testament. It is an often attacked part of the church because so many of beliefs are based on the writings of Paul. So God must have had a very good reason to choose Paul.
After thinking about this for much too short a time (even all my time would probably not be enough), I have come to the conclusion that God required his perspective in order to communicate with us His purpose. Much as I wrote in a previous post, each of us have a particular palette and Paul’s was the one required.
Who was Paul? He was a pharisee, one of the elite of society. He was itellectual, and well learned, studying under Rabban Gamaliel, head of the Sanhedrin. Because of this, he was very possibly present at many of the events recorded in the Gospels and also in Acts where Jesus or his disciples were on trial.
Often times, to understand something it is easier to take a step back. Watch the building being built instead of being inside the whole time. Paul was on the “outside” for all of Jesus ministry. Even persecuting His followers after His death. What he lacked in understanding God’s will he made up for in zeal.
After pentacost, the apostles were “busy” building the church in Jerusalem, into Judea and Samaria (which, the reason for dispersing was probably due to Paul’s persecution). On the road to Damascus Paul meets Christ. Then he spends 10 to 12 years(!) before his ministry begins.
I think this time was really important to his understanding of God and His will. His intellect, his learning, his standing in society, were all important aspects of who he became. And that person he became was just the one God needed to bring his message to the Gentiles (and therefore me, and most probably you).