Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting Me?”
“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.
Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord!” he replied.
The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”
“But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon Your name.”
But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is My chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.
Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”
Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
I see so many people, even Christians, trying to get the Bible to accommodate the changes of this wicked world into their lives. “Why shouldn’t women be allowed to be pastors?” “Why is it wrong to be a homosexual?” “Why can’t we get drunk?” “Why can’t we have sex before marriage?” And so many other questions like it, after all this world is “ever changing” as they say.
In the Gospels Jesus laid out many of the rules for us, but most of the New Testament and the rules within comes from Paul. Even when I read Christian blogs or Christian forums I see people commenting how we should “avoid” any other part of the New Testament besides the Gospels. How can a man that wasn’t even a disciple of Christ while He was alive set so many of the rules for us to follow? Paul actually used to persecute and kill Christians, so why listen to that man?
And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.
Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom to His disciples. Whatever they allowed it, would be allowed in heaven, whatever they did not allow it then it would not be allowed in heaven. But still, how can Paul get to decide what is and what isn’t if he wasn’t an disciple of Jesus back then?
Jesus called Saul of Tarsus, by name. He reached out to Saul from Heaven and made Paul His disciple. In Acts 9 we are told how Saul came from persecuting and killing Christians to being called by Jesus Christ. Paul went from a hateful and murderous man to one of the greatest inspirations to all Christians. He turned his life around instantly when He heard the Lord’s command from Heaven. Not every Christian is willing to follow God’s commands so fast, most people tend to be like Jonah.
Now a new man, a new creation through the Lord, Paul now had the keys of the Kingdom which Jesus promised to His disciples in Matthew 16:19.
When people complain about how some things are the way they are for Christians, even though Jesus never mentioned in the Gospels, those people are wrong. Jesus did say those things, through His disciples, the most vocal of them being Paul. Jesus used Paul to talk to us, just as God has used all the prophets throughout the Old Testament to talk to the nation of Israel. The keys of the Kingdom were given to His disciples, which means it was as if He had said and written everything the disciples had allowed or disallowed, Himself.
“I still have many things to say to you. You are not strong enough to understand them now. The Holy Spirit is coming. He will lead you into all truth. He will not speak His Own words. He will speak what He hears. He will tell you of things to come. He will honor Me. He will receive what is Mine and will tell it to you. Everything the Father has is Mine. That is why I said to you, ‘He will receive what is Mine and will tell it to you.’
At the final hours before His death, Jesus frankly admitted that His own teaching was incomplete when He said, “I still have many things to say to you,” and anticipated the further instruction of the church by the Holy Spirit. This statement of Jesus leads us to anticipate the formation of the New Testament.
Jesus Himself refutes those who say “I’ll take what Jesus taught, but not what Paul or the others taught.” Paul and the other New Testament writers taught us the many things that Jesus spoke of.
Today, the Holy Spirit continues to personally lead us into truth, but never in opposition to the Scripture, because God’s supremely authoritative revelation is closed with the New Testament.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is revealing Jesus to us. He has many different ways, and many different gifts He uses to accomplish this, but the purpose is always the same: to reveal Jesus.
Don’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible you are willing to follow. The Bible is God’s Word, written by human hands which were inspired by God Himself.