A teacher for others

Daily Reading for January 25 • The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle

Paul shows how he persecuted and how he was made fit for this, for which he calls the high priests to testify and “the cities outside” Jerusalem. [Paul] tells of how he heard the voice of someone saying to him, “It hurts to kick against the goad.” Then he shows God’s clemency, because it was the persecuted one who appeared to him. “He not only benefited me but sent me as a teacher for others.” And he shows the prophecy, which came and said to him, “I will choose you from among your people and the Gentiles.”

“I thought to myself,” that is, “I made the decision ‘to work steadfastly against’ the name of Jesus of Nazareth. I was not one of the disciples of Christ; I was with those who fought him.” Thus he is witness worthy of belief, because after doing countless things, fighting and killing the faithful, persuading them to blaspheme and bringing so many people, cities and rulers along, and after undertaking all this on his own initiative, he was so suddenly changed. And there are again witnesses present for this.

Then [Paul] shows he had been rightly persuaded and not deceived by the light, by the prophets, by the facts, by the events that were unfolding at that very moment. In order that he not appear to be an innovator, even though he could speak of such great things, he takes refuge once more in the prophets, and he puts them forth for public scrutiny. This is more trustworthy, as it happens in the present; but since he alone had seen, again he is confirmed by the prophets.

From John Chrysostom’s Catena on the Acts of the Apostles 26.9-11, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament V: Acts, edited by Francis Martin (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

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