Friday 11th December 2020 Devotion
Scripture:- Acts 9:1-22
Topic:- Who Was Apostle Paul 
Text:- Acts 9:5
6. You’ve heard of Nero fiddling while Rome burned? It’s likely that Paul was beheaded by Nero, and that the burning of Rome had something to do with it.
No one knows if Nero actually played the lyre while Rome burned, but we do know that many Romans blamed him for the near destruction of their city and that, following the fire, Nero staged fierce and brutal persecutions of Christians.
Many scholars say the reason he lashed out at Christians was to draw blame and attention away from himself for the negative press he was getting over the fire.
7. So what does this have to do with Paul? While the Bible does not specify when and how Paul died, we know that 2 Timothy was written while Paul was in a Roman prison from 66-67 AD.
Not long after the burning of Rome in 64 AD, and that during this time Paul was anticipating his death. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
8. Furthermore, an early Church historian Eusebius wrote that Paul was, indeed, beheaded at the order of the Roman emperor Nero.
9. Paul gets the award for writing the biggest chunk of the Bible in the shortest period of time.
He wrote more than half of the New Testament over a period of 17 years—and about half of that was written over a period of three years, from 61 to 63 A.D. During this time, he wrote Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Hebrews, 1 Timothy, and Titus.
He wrote four of these letters in prison, which might explain why he was so prolific!
10. Jesus didn’t change Saul’s name to Paul after his conversion. It’s not uncommon to hear the story of how the Pharisee known Saul was traveling to Damascus to find and imprison Christians when a light from heaven flashed around him and he heard the voice of Jesus say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” See Acts 9:4, 22:7.
11. The man had a miraculous conversion experience and began preaching that Jesus is the Messiah with a boldness that changed history—and somewhere in the process Jesus renamed him Paul to represent his conversion and rebirth.Except that last part isn’t exactly in the Bible.
12. What really happened is that after his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, Saul continues to be called, well, Saul, by the Holy Spirit and others long after his conversion. See Acts 9:17;11:25,30; 12:25;13:2,7.
13. In Acts 13:9, as he is getting ready to launch his ministry to largely Greek-speaking Gentiles on Cypress, we read these words: “Then Saul, who was also called Paul…”
And from then on Luke, the author of Acts, continues to call him Paul.
14. One idea is that “Saul” is his Hebrew name, while as a Roman citizen he also bore the biblical Greek name of Paul. It was not uncommon for people in that day to have two names. The theory is that Luke began calling his fellow missionary “Paul” because that would be the more familiar name to the Gentiles to which they were ministering.
15. Regardless of how and why Saul came to be better known as Paul, nothing diminishes the importance of the transforming encounter he had with Jesus on the road to Damascus.
It was an encounter that altered the course of history, resulted in untold generations throughout the world meeting Jesus as their Savior, and made it possible for us to receive half of the New Testament through the writings of this rock star of an Apostle of Christ.
Prayer Point:- Oh Lord God, use me as a great tool in Your hand henceforth by fire, in the name of Jesus Christ.