Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:1-2
This Saul was not only fervent in his unbelief, but murderous, threatening, and connected! Saul was the Pharisees champion. At Pharisee banquets he would be invited to the top table and given the honor of the after dinner speech. The old hands would praise his energy and enthusiasm for the task, and better still he was useful to their plans. Saul went right into the high priest and received letters to the synagogues, and these letters would have meant that he had no worries over a hotel room or servants to see to his needs. No worries about collecting receipts for the bean counters back home. No worries over dates to the best restaurants in Damascus. He had it made!
As Saul journeyed down the road to Damascus, we would have seen the pennant of the Pharisee University Authoritarians on his cloak, a Pharisee sweatshirt on his back, and a heavy gold ring from the PU class of '35 on his finger. Saul was all Pharisee and charged with what he thought was a holy mission approved by the powers that be in Jerusalem. He was Pharisee U's biggest fan and proud of it. Saul belonged, felt the warm glow of official approval, and had purpose in his stride. And, as we know from the scripture story, Saul was all wrong.
The Pharisees had declared for the Antichrist way back in Mark 2, and Saul was their golden one, the champion they could count on to destroy the Way and His followers. Only, as we have read in the scriptures, the story does not continue from here quite as the high priest and the Pharisees thought it would.
Seldom is a rebirth in Christ such a big change to an earthly life and career as Paul's was, and yet, each of us has undergone a similar change in our new life in Jesus. Your/my change may not be so dramatic, so sudden, or affect our career like Paul's did, but be patient, the change will be just as profound and far-reaching when our Lord is done.Glory to His name, Bucky