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Why wasn't Paul a disciple?

Why was Paul not included in the original 12 disciples? Why was he added after Jesus rose from the grave and not during Jesus three years of ministry? The other disciples saw Jesus, lived with Him, and even saw Him ascend into heaven. Why was Paul not included in all of that? After all, he wrote MOST of the New Testament and was the greatest evangelist to ever live. He played and substantive and central part of the church’s growth and early development and is quoted by more Christians more than anyone else except Jesus Himself!

For whatever reason, these questions began to plague me this morning as I lay in bed. Paul has always been like a “step-disciple”, or an extra stained glass in a church where six disciples are on one side the sanctuary and six on the other, and then Paul’s depiction is someplace a bit more obscure in the church.

So why did Jesus add Paul to the work of the early church after He had ascended, etc? As I thought about this and prayed, I was reminded that Jesus appeared to, and spoke to Paul after He had already ascended into heaven. It was not the “second coming of Jesus”, but rather a private, epiphany to one man with a special purpose. And then it occurred to me that Jesus has done the same thing throughout the history of the church. He appeared to, and spoke to, Saint Francis of Assisi in the 15th century, and who knows how many others!

One day Jesus will return, and every eye will see Him, but He still “comes” and speaks, when the need arrives, to Paul, Francis, uncelebrated saints—and perhaps one of you reading this devotion right now. What encourages me is to know that He does appear and encourage us, from time to time. He chooses people like Saul—an enemy of the Christians—to accomplish great things. And though Saul—who became “Paul”—did not have the privilege of walking with Jesus in the Galilee, he was as devoted and convinced of the resurrection of Jesus as any man in history. Did you evert think about that? He never touched the nail scarred hands, or walked into the empty tomb, or attended the ascension, but His faith was no less than those that saw all of this!

What about you and me? Do we ever complain that “if only we had seen what the disciples saw we would never doubt.”? Paul never what they saw, and countless other Christians are blessed to have had unshakable faith because, like Paul they met the risen Lord years and years after He ascended into heaven.

Paul was not lacking in passion and persuasion of what he knew to be true. When the hand of God, and the call of Christ comes, you cannot be the same you were. You are “different”. Have you heard Him? Have you seen Jesus, my Lord?

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