But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the Good News which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.
For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God, and ravaged it. I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I didn’t immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus.
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. But of the other apostles I saw no one, except James, the Lord’s brother. Now about the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I’m not lying. Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ, but they only heard: “He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God in me.
God calls all manner of people to do his will. Paul was, in his own words, “zealous for the traditions of his fathers.” I don’t think it’s any different today. There are all kinds of people from all walks of life that are called to do the will of God. That makes the good news of Christ multi-faceted. God calls a Shane Claiborne to be his voice for the poor. God calls a Mark Driscoll to speak truth to young people in the northwest United States. God calls a David Platt to help an established denomination re-evaluate how they go about the way they do church. And, if you’re reading this, chances are he’s called you to his work as well. What we all must remember that although God may have us speak a certain message of importance, it all ties back to the Good News of Christ. That Good News is the only reason anything else is important.
- Paul received the Good News through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Does that still happen today? What part does Jesus Christ play in every revealing of the gospel?
- Why do you think God chose Paul to be his messenger to the Gentiles?
- Why was it important for Paul to pull away from all Jewish influence before he began his ministry? What can we glean from that today?
- Why is it important for us as messengers to confer with other messengers?
Our Father, Holy God Almighty, hallowed be your name. Lord, if I’m living like Paul lived before his conversion—if I’m chasing after the traditions of my fathers or living any other type of convoluted or watered down gospel—please forgive me. Help me to always grasp the simplicity of your truth: Jesus Christ crucified. Jesus Christ risen from the dead. Jesus Christ my Savior. Jesus Christ as the only Savior. If there are others out there who allowed religion to water down their faith, I pray for them also. I pray that you will bring about a great revival in this generation, a revival of simplicity and truth. May we once again grasp the pureness of your Good News and separate ourselves from others with the true distillate of being able to love one another through the power of Christ. Amen!