Continued from Part 24
et us return to the study of a selected few followers of Jesus Christ who have suffered as a result of their faith in Him. Today we take a look at the life of Paul who at birth was named Saul who grew to be a persecutor of the Church.
These records afford us the opportunity of knowing what we may expect as a result of our faith in Christ.
He took care of the clothes of the men who executed Stephen (Acts 7:58). So certainly, He consented to the murder (8:1).
Paul on his journey to apprehend the Christians at Damascus was dramatically arrested by the Lord (Acts 9:1-9).
The Lord told Ananias, a disciple at Damascus, that Paul "is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and Kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake (Acts 9:15-16).
And really of all the missionaries, he was the most afflicted. At Lystra, during his first missionary journey, he was stoned and dragged out of the city, presuming him dead (Acts 14:19). This was after he had healed a man who was impotent in his feet, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked (Acts 14:8).
During his second missionary journey, Paul and Silas at Philippi were stripped naked, and on the order of the magistrate were beaten, with many stripes laid on them. After this, they were cast into the prison (Acts 16:22-23). All these were done to them on false accusation by the owner of the divination demon possessed damsel whom Paul delivered, thereby became bitter that their source of income had been shattered. (Acts 16:16-21).
At a time in Jerusalem, he was almost lynched. Prompt intervention of the Roman Garrison Commander spared him. Paul was in the Jerusalem temple to fulfill a vow when the Jews in Asia (where Paul had been a missionary) cited him and stirred an uproar against him with false accusation that he taught things which were against the law and had polluted (defiled) the temple. They thought he had brought into the temple, a certain Greek, Trophimus from Ephesus who they had noticed was in his company (Acts 21:23-33).
Paul himself presented a dossier of his afflictions to the Corinthian church in his second letter chapter 11:23-29
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; I have worked harder, been whipped times without number, in prisons more frequent, faced death again and again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me their terrible thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was ship wrecked. Once I was in the open sea all night and the whole next day. I have travelled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers, and from robbers and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty, in fasting often; often I have shivered in cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm……"
Paul was eventually beheaded in Rome.
(to be continued)