By Jeff Faull
Imagine a child asking the apostle Paul, “Would you tell me a story?” Where would he start?
He could tell about his Damascus road experience, adventures at sea, the time he was bitten by a snake, and the great basket escape. He could speak of the time Eutychus fell asleep during his sermon and fell out the window and died. Then there were the occasions he was stoned and left for dead. He could relate his vision of the third heaven. He might mention his authorship of at least a dozen books of the Bible.
Paul could say, “Let me tell you of the time . . .”
- The Jews were pursuing me and I had a personal escort of 472 soldiers as bodyguards.
- I gave my testimony to the king, and he was more scared than I was.
- I mouthed off to the high priest because I didn’t realize he was the high priest.
- I dogged the Roman government by flashing my Roman citizenship card.
- I took on a sorcerer who tried to cast a spell on me.
- I accidentally incited a riot.
- I spent time alone in the desert with Christ.
There would be so much that Paul could relate. Paul Reese wrote, “What Socrates is to philosophy, and Shakespeare is to literature, Paul is to the Christian faith. There was a total-ness about Paul that is quite staggering.”
But the first thing Paul would speak of would not be something he did but rather, something he received. In 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 he wrote, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (New American Standard Bible).
And in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Paul’s story was not his own; it was Christ’s. And his story is also our story as we gather with this cup and loaf today.
Jeff Faull serves as minister with Mount Gilead Church, Mooresville, Indiana, and also as a CHRISTIAN STANDARD contributing editor.