Knowing our King | Colossians 1:1 "Paul"
Paul opens with his name and in his name lies a wonderful truth. We can’t read the name Paul without thinking of his Hebrew name Saul. Saul was most likely named after Israel’s first King, Saul. Especially because they were both of the tribe of Benjamin. Saul was a huge character in the Israel’s history and quiet a name to live up to. Saul stood head and shoulders above the crowd and Saul is the embodiment of a man who became is big, in reputation, stature and even in his own sight. I would remind you of the words of the prophet to Saul when he was rejected as King, “When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” Saul’s downfall was his inflation of self over God. Paul on the other hand is not even a Jewish name, but a Gentile name. The Name Paul is translated from the Greek name Paulos, meaning small. Two things that stand out about Paul’s identity in the Scripture is the stark contrast in his identity. Saul was known for being quiet a big name in Israel, but Paul means little and how little did Paul become. One reason his life has shined so bright throughout he ages is because there was very little of Paul and a very much of Jesus in his life. The Old man had died and the life that he lived he lived by the faith of Jesus Christ. So much so, that he said to live was Christ and to die was gain! Big Hebrew Saul became little gentile Paul, mind you he never became a gentile, but he lived with them, ministered to them, and was even known by His Greek name more than his Hebrew Name. One confusion to clear up is that his name was not changed from Saul to Paul on the road to Damascus, neither do find where God changed his name. He begins to be called Paul and accepts that title and even addresses his letters with that name, taking on the name of a gentile as he is ministering to the gentiles. In a sense being like Christ who was robed in Glory and took on him the body and trouble and title of the people he came to minister to. Also, a lesson to us as ministers, that what ever high titles and achievements we have are not going to benefit God’s people. There comes a time in the minister’s life when we, like Paul, have to say “what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” [Philippians 3:7] and like Christ it would “Behoove us to become like our brethren.”
Paul was like Christ in that what he suffered he suffered for his love for God and His love for God’s people. Many times, we are too busy being a Saul to be a Paul. Sometimes we are too busy being big to be little and such ministers will either remain useless or be put into the same school and process as Paul was. It was not until Acts 13:9 that we hear Saul called Paul, so it was not an immediate change but a process that took 14 years, the amount of time between Saul’s conversion is Acts 9 and his first being called Paul in Acts 13:9. I do believe it is safe to say that Saul could be a representative of the old man that Paul spoke so much about and Paul is a representative of the new man. We have an idea that Paul was saved one day and blazing the Gospel trail the next, but he spent years in the wilderness with God and years in the church with the brothers before the Holy Ghost every separated him out to Gospel ministry. Dear young Christian don’t be discouraged if God has you in the wilderness with him, or in the church house with the brothers, He’s just making you little so he can be made big, you are decreasing and He is increasing. Saul was called Paul when he was called into the gospel ministry by the Holy Ghost in Acts 13, signifying that before a man can be a faithful minister of Christ, he is going to have to be made small and count all things loss, give up his old identity and live and operate under a identity of smallness. This is not a discouragement but and encouragement! If there is less of you there will have to be more of him! The smaller we are the bigger he is, the dimmer we are the brighter he is, the weaker we are the stronger he is! Then we can say “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” [Gal 2:20].