Paul thought his testimony was convincing to his audience. The Jews knew of his disdain for Christians and that he was a participant in Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 7:58; 8:1a).
Surely they would recognize that only divine intervention would have changed his direction. In spite of Paul’s conviction that he had a great potential ministry in Jerusalem, God said, “Go.”
Paul had been converted by Jesus’s special appearance on the road to Damascus, where Paul was going to arrest Christians for apostatizing from Judaism (Acts 9). Following his conversion, Paul had a brief ministry in Damascus (9:20–-25) and then spent three years in Nabatean Arabia (Gal 1:17–-18), during which time Jesus taught him the about the church. Many of these teachings were controversial to the Jews.
Christ told Paul to leave Jerusalem, “for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me” (Acts 22:18). The Christians learned of a plot to kill Paul, so they rushed him out of the city, sending him back to his home in Tarsus (9:30).
Earlier, Paul was told that he “[would] be His witness to all men of what [he had] seen and heard” (Acts 22:15), and now it was further clarified that he was to “continually be going,” specifically, “far away to the Gentiles.”
God has always desired to communicate His message to every Gentile language, tribe, or people group in the world (Rev 5:10). Christ took this occasion to clarify His final charge to go to “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). He wanted believers to get out of their comfort zones to live among very different people to bring them the light of the gospel.
Someone had to break the mold of self–centered thinking and take the risk. Paul was chosen, and he said, “I become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel” (1 Cor 9:22–-23).
Even to this day, 98 percent of all global Christian ministries target traditional “Christian” populations. Only 2 percent of Christian ministries target the remaining 70 percent of the non–Christian world. God trusts His disciples to read His word and know what must be done, however uncomfortable or unpopular it might be. Will you go?
“Father, You have told all Your children to go with the gospel to the ends of the earth. I pray You will prepare hundreds of thousands of workers to reap the great harvest before You return.”