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Saul (Paul) becomes a Christian

Paul meets Jesus on the road to Damascus.
Contributed by Max7.org
Hello. My name is Saul but I was later named Paul. My life started out as normal as anyone's, but one day something happened to me that completely changed my whole life! It was the most amazing thing … but let me start from the beginning. – Slide 1
I was born in the city of Tarsus not far from the Mediterranean Sea. I believe that today you call this area Turkey. Later my family moved to Jerusalem. My earliest memories of childhood are centered on the school. Maybe some of you don't like going to school, but I enjoyed it very much! – Slide 2
From the time I was a young boy; I attended classes and learned about God from the best teachers. I remember sitting on the ground in a circle with the other boys listening intently as our teacher taught us God's Word and His laws. – Slide 3
And I was a very good student! I tried hard to obey God. I also tried to obey the Pharisees - they were our religious leaders. They had many additional rules that we were to obey. – Slide 4
For instance, I know that you probably wash your hands before you eat so that you won't become ill from germs. Our handwashing rules were much stricter. – Slide 5
We were to measure out a certain amount of pure, clean water - enough to fill one and a half egg shells - no more and no less! This water was then poured on both hands. The hands were lifted up so that the water would run down to the wrist and away from the clean fingers. If the water didn't reach the wrist, then the hands were considered unclean. – Slide 6
There was a second and sometimes even a third washing that took place after the meal. We had to get it just right! This is only one of the many rules that the Pharisees taught us to show our devotion to God. I admired these men and wanted to be just like them! – Slide 7
Well, the years went by and I grew to be a man. One of my proudest moments was the day I became a Pharisee. Oh, I remember how good it felt to be part of that important group of men in Jerusalem! I wanted to please God and be the best Pharisee ever. – Slide 8
One day, I heard some troubling news. It seemed there were some people among us who were no longer following the teach-ing of the Pharisees. These people had become followers of Jesus - the one who claimed to be the Son of God. Do you know much about Him? – Slide 9
Yes, those followers of His said all those things - and even more, they insisted that He had risen from the dead and that they had seen Him alive. <br/>Now they followed Jesus instead of us. I was furi-ous! How dare they turn away and believe such ridiculous lies? Well, I knew that if these people weren't stopped, their dan-gerous beliefs would spread. So I set out to stop them myself. – Slide 10
I punished these Jesus followers wherever I found them! I had men and women put in chains and taken off to prison - I even had a number of them killed. I believed that God was pleased with my actions - after all, I was doing this for Him and to keep our laws pure! I was proud of myself! When word got around that I was arresting these believers, many of them fled to other places. Some had even gone as far as Damascus - about 175 miles (300 kilometers) from Jerusalem! They thought they'd be safe from me there! Ha! I decided I would go there myself and bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. – Slide 11
Our high priest gave me letters for the leaders in Damascus so I could get permission to arrest believers and take them back to Jerusalem. Soon I began the long journey to Damascus. – Slide 12
My men and I had traveled several days when we finally neared the city - that’s when it happened. Oh, I can see it as clearly as if it were yesterday! I remember it was around noon - the hot sun was high in the sky. – Slide 13
Suddenly, there was a bright light, much brighter than the sun, shining on me! It was so bright and startling, I fell to the ground! Then I heard the voice... I still get chills when I think of it. This amazing voice said, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ – Slide 14
I couldn't see anyone in the blinding light. ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked in confusion. I will never forget the answer to my question as long as I live. He said, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are hurting.’ – Slide 15
I was shocked! Jesus? – Slide 16
Jesus, who claimed to be God's Son... why, He was dead! He had hung on a cross for hours, bleeding and dying. – Slide 17
They had pierced His side with a sword. His body had been taken down and bur-ied, His tomb guarded by Roman soldiers. His disci-ples started the rumour that He had come alive again... but we were cer-tain it was a lie. – Slide 18
I felt the trembling start in my hands and spread through my body. I had tried my whole life to be a good follower of God. I was a Pharisee! – Slide 19
I kept the laws - all of them - to the best of my ability! I had eagerly persecuted the followers of Jesus, thinking that I was pleasing God. What had I done? Were those Jesus followers right after all? Was Jesus really God? Had I actually been attacking God's own true Son? – Slide 20
Well, I had suddenly realized exactly what your teacher was talking about. I had not been pleasing God at all! When I could again find my voice I asked, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" He told me to get up and go to a certain place in the city and wait for His instructions. Then, as quickly as it had come, the brilliant light disappeared. I remember that I slowly rose to my feet and tried to look around at my men, but I couldn't see them. I was blind! God was teaching me to be humble instead of proud. – Slide 21
Me - once a proud Pharisee now had to be taken by the hand and led into the city like a child. My men took me down a particular street to the home of a man named Judas. For three long days, I sat in Judas' house. I didn’t eat or drink - I just couldn't! All I remember doing for those three days was thinking and praying. As I thought back on all I had done, I was gripped with fear and sadness. How wrong I had been! All this time I thought I was pleasing God. I thought that keeping God’s laws made me good enough for God. How foolishly proud I had been! – Slide 22
I finally understood the truth. We can never be good enough for God - He is the perfect, holy one! His Son, Jesus, truly did come here to Earth. He lived a perfect life. He died, not for the wrong He had done, but for your sins and mine. And - He came to life again! God's Son is alive! Now I knew it was true - I believed it for my-self. Being acceptable to God is not something we can do for ourselves. It is what Jesus has done for us! And that's the good news. I don't have to try to impress God - and I could-n't anyway. I realized for the first time that God loved me just as I was. I later wrote in the Bible, ‘But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us’ (Ro-mans 5:8). He loves me that much! – Slide 23
My whole life turned around that day and I’ve never been the same since! I began a great adventure with God! – Slide 24
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