Galatians 3, God is ONE
The Beginning, Part 2
Acts 9:3-5 (NKJV)
Galatians 3:20 (NKJV)
Since I looked at Galatians 3:19 from several different angles in the previous lesson, I realized that when he wrote this section, the Apostle Paul was ‘digging in’. By that, I mean he was making an argument and he wasn’t likely to give up or give in.
The Apostle Paul was what we’d call today the ‘A Team’ of theologians. As I’ve said before he was highly educated in the Hebrew Scriptures. He knew scripture by heart. We know that because he studied under Gamaliel.
To put that in perspective, the other disciples studied under Jesus. They were not formally educated. That was a very good thing, but God knew there would be times when His team would need a man who HAD been formally educated in the Hebrew scriptures.
God chose Saul of Tarsus (later called Paul). So when the Spirit of God met up with Saul on the road to Damascus, he knew THE God blinded him in order to get his attention. In Acts 9 while Saul was hot on the trail of the ‘people of the Way’ (which is what Christians were called at that time) we learn in Acts 9:3-5, “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Jesus’ first question to Saul, ‘why are you persecuting me’ told Saul who was speaking to him. Saul’s question in return asked for confirmation when he said, ‘who are you, Lord?’ Since Saul called him ‘Lord’ Saul already had a clue who appeared to him. Then, Jesus clearly identified himself by name. Saul now knew this Jesus he had been persecuting WAS God. He was who he said he was.
The final sentence in Acts 9:5 (which relates to Galatians 3:20) gives us a clue about the character of God. Jesus’ last words to Saul said, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
A goad is a long sharp stick a farmer used to get the stubborn oxen to move. Jesus was telling Saul, you are the oxen and I am the farmer. That tells us Jesus had been trying to talk to Saul but he wasn’t listening. Now, Jesus was pressing in harder. But, notice Jesus’ words at the beginning of the sentence, “it is hard for you.” Jesus, God of love and compassion knew how difficult this change would be for Saul. Jesus knew Saul/Paul’s life was about to change forever and the drastic change would be ‘hard’.
When Paul wrote Galatians 3:20 he had first hand knowledge that Jesus was the great mediator. “Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.”
When Paul said, “a mediator does not mediate for one only” he was speaking of Moses. In Exodus, God met Moses on the mountain and gave him the Law, the Ten Commandments. Moses was the mediator for Israel.
In the last part of Galatians 3:20 when Paul writes, “God is One”, Paul was saying because Jesus came and died for us, we have a direct line to God, who is ONE, who IS God. We no longer need someone else to mediate for us (https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/galatians-3/)
Jesus showed great love and compassion for Saul on the road to Damascus. Jesus knew what Saul’s driving force in his life had been. Jesus knew Saul’s life was about to do an about-face. That’s probably part of the reason Sauls name was changed to Paul. His whole life’s purpose changed and he needed a new name to show it had changed. He was no longer the same man.
Many of us have had about-face moments in our lives that knocked the wind out of us.
Sometimes it happens:
After the death of someone or some thing we hold dear
After divorce or seismic change
Or like Saul when the hand of Jesus reaches down and forever changes us in an instant
When that happens we are forever changed. When my about-face moments came I don’t remember realizing that Jesus’ love and compassion were carrying me. I remember being confused and afraid of what tomorrow would bring. The good news is that the end result, the changes I would undergo did not rely on my faith and ability to believe. It was God’s love, God’s compassion, and God’s faithfulness that carried me.
Just like Jesus carried the Apostle Paul into his ‘new reality’, He has carried and will carry us.
God IS love
God IS compassionate
God IS faithful
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: RECEIVE what God has for you today
I know I say that a lot, but that’s because my Spiritual Director said that a lot to me during my ten year pilgrimage with him. I finally caught on and realized how important it is.
Now, I pass that on to you.
In God, Deborah