vv. 1-9 Jesus’ comment to Saul: “You are persecuting ME”. Regarding this concept of Jesus, His Body, the Church and the individual Christian, see Matt 25:35-46; Psalm 51:4, Ezek 16:15-32. What is the application for us in this century and at this time?
vv. 10-16 Jesus called Saul a “chosen instrument.” When did God choose Saul? See Gal 1:15. Compare also Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:1-16. Did God choose you? See Bishop Sheen quote below. When did God choose you? What does that knowledge mean to you now?
Bishop Sheen: So the divine love is sacrificial love. Love does not mean to have and to own and to possess. It means to be had and to be owned and to be possessed. It is not a circle circumscribed by self, it is arms outstretched to embrace all humanity within its grasp.
v. 16 What did Paul (Saul) suffer? See 2 Cor 11:23-29. Is he the only one God calls to suffer for Christ? What might happen if we avoid suffering for Christ? See Phil 1:29; 1 Peter 2:18-25; Num 33:55; Dt 8:1-3; 20:16-18; Ps 106:34-39
Vv 17-19 Consider the “scales” mentioned in this text with Luke 24:31. What might be an application for us? What might we pray for?
Many scholars speculate St. Paul had eye trouble (e.g. Galatians 4: 13-15; Gal 6: 11; 2 Cor 12:7-10. Is it possible Paul’s thorn was his guilty conscience about his treatment of Christians? See his repeated references: Acts 22:3-5; 26:9-12; Gal 1:11-14; Phil 3:4-6; 1 Tim 1:15.
Have YOU done anything in your past that, though you know is forgiven and covered under Christ’s blood, yet still haunts you? Perhaps God’s words to Paul in that 2 Cor 12 passage (above) might prove useful for you.
vv. 20-22 Note what is happening here. This is what Conversion looks like. See Gal 1:11-14 again, also 2 Cor 11:23-29; Phil 3:5-11. Now see Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân below comment below:
Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân: In prison the Catholic prisoners divided the New Testament, which they had hidden and taken with them, into little sheets; they distributed them and learned them by heart. Since the ground was earth or sand, when the guards' steps were heard, the Word of God was hidden under earth. In the afternoon, at sundown, each one took turns reciting the part he knew; it was impressive and moving to hear the Word of God in the silence and darkness, the presence of Jesus, the 'living Gospel,' recited with all the soul's strength, the priestly prayer, the Passion of Christ....I wonder...how would it be possible to have a change of mentality, a constant re-evangelization of life, to effect a real conversion? (Note: Because of his Catholic faith, the Archbishop was held for 13 years in Vietnamese prisons. He spent 9 of these in solitary confinement).
We will finish chapter 9 next time and maybe start chapter 10. We are closing in on our live Monday night study at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. If you are in the Tacoma area, please join us.