My wife and I were enjoying a new series on an internet channel and as we watched the first few minutes, a familiar face flashed on the screen.
“Hey!” I exclaimed. “Didn’t we see him in that movie we saw last weekend?”
My wife nodded. “Yes, he played that crusading district attorney!”
“Yeah! So cool, now he’s playing a villain, a completely different character.”
It is always intriguing to recognize an actor or actress, performing in a role, unfamiliar or opposite to which we are accustomed. It allows us to appreciate the talent of the artist, engaging our senses and riveting our attention to the character that we may not have otherwise considered.
The Bible gives us many examples of people who appear in multiple roles. Moses was a prince of Egypt, a murderer and a Prophet who later led the Israelites out of bondage from Egypt. David was a shepherd, a mighty warrior, and one of the greatest kings of Israel. Gideon was a timid farmer who led the vastly outnumbered Israelites to a miraculous victory over their Midianite oppressors. But for a complete reversal of roles, there is no greater example in the Bible than the Apostle Paul.
The Apostle Paul was Saul, a Pharisee and one of the most educated men of his day. He zealously hunted down all Christians as blasphemers and heretics of God and the Jewish traditions. His actions spread great fear amongst the nascent Christians who scattered from his intrusions. It was a dark and foreboding time but God was setting the stage for one of the most dramatic character reversals. Traveling on the road to Damascus, Jesus Christ blinded him with a light from Heaven and spoke directly to him.
And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Acts 9:4-6 (ESV)
For three days, Saul was blind. His sight was restored when a disciple of Jesus, Ananias, lay hands upon him and by the power of the Holy Spirit, restored his sight and transformed his seething hate he had for Jesus and His followers into the most powerful and persuasive witness that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah for whom the Jews were expecting. Paul now declared that Jesus was God Incarnate! The result was disbelief by both Christians and Jews alike.
And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?”
Acts 9:21 (ESV)
Is not this the man? Didn’t we see him….?
Yes, and so did God who transformed him from Saul the persecutor to Paul the greatest missionary of the Good News of Jesus Christ!
All praise to the Living God!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.