An Abnormal New Birth

Sunday, October 1               

John 15:8  “and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” Other versions say “born out of due season.”  Both of these have significant meanings.  Christ’s appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus was about two years after Jesus’return to heaven.  When Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus, Paul became a changed man.  He received the message, and accepted his new commission.  And he recognized himself as an Apostle, though with the view that he didn’t deserve it (John 1:9).  He was outside the incarnation period, did not spend years with Christ as the other Apostles did, but he spent three years in the Arabian desert to prepare him for his mission.  So “out of due time” is an appropriate expression.  The NIV note on John 15:8 makes a good case for the NIV translation “abnormally born.”  Paul did not go through the normal training that the other Apostles got by being with Jesus night and day for three or so years.  His “birth” was not normal.  It was sudden.  He was stopped in his tracks while seeking to wipe out all followers of Christ and immediately accepted his commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Radical birth, not normal.  Don’t miss those two words “as to” in John 15:8.  The timing was right for Christ to nab Paul and put him to work.  But the occasion seemed to be an abnormal time.  God’s timing is always right.  It does make me wonder just what connection Paul had with Jesus previously.  Had he witnessed in person any of Jesus’ miracles?  Had he heard Jesus speak?  Had he ever talked with Jesus?  He was at Stephen’s death—approving of it.  He must have known Nicodemus.  I hope to talk with Paul about this.

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