Paul’s Purpose Changed to God’s Purpose

John Osler, founder of the world-famous John Hopkins School of Medicine once said, “Our main purpose is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but what lies clearly at hand.” (Dale Carnegie). … More


Paul told about the day he left for Damascus with a purpose to arrest as many Christians as possible. He had documents, signed, and sealed by the High Priest (v. 12) that guaranteed the cooperation of Jewish officials. Certainly conversion to Christ was far from his mind when he left that morning.

Paul gave a vivid description of how, on the road at midday, he and those who were with him were struck to the ground with a dazzling light (v. 13) and a voice from heaven said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me” (v. 14)? He asked who it was that was speaking, and the answer came, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (v. 15). He was stopped in his tracks and realized for the first time how he was without Christ, and without hope. Then the Lord said in the next verse, “Get up, I have work for you to do for me” (v. 16). He was told that his primary witness was to be among the Gentiles (v. 17). I have appeared to you, because I have chosen you to be my servant. You are to tell others what you have learned about me and what I will show you later (v. 18).” At this point Paul shared with his listeners his commitment to “the heavenly vision” (v. 19).

In verse 20 Paul gives a vivid summary of the message he preached:

  1. He called on men to repent.
  2. He called on men to return to God.
  3. He called on men to do deeds to match their repentance.

Paul made it clear that this is why some have tried to kill him, but he now had a new purpose in life; preaching the good news of the Gospel to the Gentiles (vv. 21-23).  Nothing could stop him. Neither Jewish opposition, nor Roman imprisonment had silenced him. It made no difference if he were standing before Israel’s high priest, Rome’s Nero, or the common soldier to whom he was chained.


Without a purpose I will wander aimlessly through life and will have nothing to show for the time spent on this earth. Lord, help me to keep my focus like the apostle Paul did!!

Acts 26:12-23 (English Standard Version)

"In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles--to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."

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