Saul was someone who persecuted Jesus’ followers. But after a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul experienced a radical and unalterable change of heart. What prompted this instantaneous transformation?
If we study Saul’s history, we would undoubtedly reach a conclusion that he showed little promise or potential of becoming an Apostle of Jesus. In fact, it would be unthinkable to think that this is the path that Saul would choose for himself.
Neither Saul nor those who had known him; would ever have guessed that he would advocate for the faith that he had once sought to destroy.
Saul, who is also known as St. Paul, was a Pharisee. He carried in his heart and within his mind; the societal, mental and emotional conditioning of someone who was a member of the educated elite.
In our modern age, this would be equivalent to the academics and the lawyers who advocate for strict observance of long held traditions. It tends to be a social group where rigidity in thinking and in being are not only validated; they are also celebrated and enforced.
Even as the world changes and circumstances change, in groups such as these; the need to conform to the status quo grows stronger as opposed to weaker. It is this spirit of oppression–which begins internally–that dangerously begins to manifest externally.
The fledgling and flailing status quo is of self-oppression is then projected onto people who are already marginalised and are fighting for their right to exist.
After Jesus appeared to Saul, the transformation begins–first of the inner self; before it expands into the outer and external world. The mind is a powerful tool and St. Paul would use and utilise it to its fullest potential.
In the end, it would be Saul of Tarsus, who in the early days of Christianity would bring the message of the gospel to the non-Jews. It was Paul who reached the hearts of those who would have been difficult to reach.
And it was Paul, who after changing his heart, was finally able to transform others.