“Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.” Galatians 1:11-14 NLT
Paul made a point of reminding the Galatians that the gospel message he preached came as a direct revelation from Jesus Christ, not some human philosophy or ideology. The gospel ("Good News" in the Greek) was no mere human proclamation. The gospel was the fact of Jesus divinity, sinless substitutionary death, and resurrection. Paul had once been on the other side of this. He was a Pharisee, circumcised the eighth day according Jewish law, and was the top of his class in the Jewish religion (Judaism). He had watched the coats of those who stoned Stephen in Acts 7:58. He had arrested believers in Jesus in Acts 8:3 and had secured permission to do so in Damascus in Acts 9:1-2. However, he had a personal encounter with this One called Jesus while on his way to Damascus. His life was never the same. I encourage you to read about his conversion and the power of the Holy Spirit that opened his blinded eyes (see Acts 9:3-30). This man, who was the most fierce adversary of the cause of Christ, was now destined to be one of its greatest assets. Saul became known as Paul (see Acts 13:9) and would be used by God to literally change the world. This calling and anointing came at a great cost (simply read Acts 9-end of the book). Practically everywhere he went he encountered opposition, death threats, and attempts on his life.
Who, in their right mind, would endure these things if their belief in Jesus was simply a hoax? No one. You must believe in something in order to be willing to die for it. Knowing Paul's background, it can only be understood that this Jesus he was preaching about had transformed this Pharisee into a disciple of Christ. His message of grace would revolutionize the world.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I thank you for the message of grace you have revealed to me. Help me share this true message of salvation to everyone I possibly can.
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Rev. Curtis Norris