Last week we witnessed Stephen’s killing. Saul lead the charge. The scene ended with a man checking to see if he was dead. That man was Saul.His name was not spoken on screen, but the power of his influence lept off the screen.
And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
“Saul was consenting unto his death” is actually the proper translation of line. The word “consenting” expresses complete approval. This means he was 100% behind his execution under the righteousness of the law.
Saul (the Apostle Paul’s name before his conversion) is born in Tarsus, a city in the province of Cilicia. Although raised in a Jewish family, he is a Roman citizen due to his birth in a free city. These are things I teach my children when we study the Apostles and the calling on their lives. Saul was a Roman citizen. It’s very important to understand that. Saul had all the privileges afforded him in two of the most influential communities at the time.
Saul led by his righteousness in God persecuted the followers of Christ. Stephen’s public death was just one of his hunts. His fire to drive the heretics into the ground leads him on a major persecution against Christians in Jerusalem then travels to Damascus to find still more believers. God confronts him while on the road to Damascus and causes him to repent. He soon receives baptism and begins a dynamic thirty-five year evangelistic career as the apostle Paul.