“ But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,” was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.”
(Galatians 1:15–24 ESV)
How do you know when the call of God in your life and mine is the real thing?
For Paul in these verses is making sure that everyone understands what his calling to preach the Gospel is a divine assignment.
For the first time now he is mentioning two essential pillars of the early Church Peter and James. Paul met with them only after three years of encountering Jesus. He did not go back to Jerusalem but went to Arabia, and he stayed there for three years.
What did Paul do in Arabia?
Some scholars are saying that he went to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and others said that he went to spend time with the Lord. One thing is clear is that Paul did not go back to Jerusalem for two reasons:
- Paul did not want to seek the approval of those who were leaders of the early church.
- He did not want to answer those who sent him to persecute the church, and he wanted to be totally cut off from any influence. He now is a new man in Christ.
Personally, I believe Paul spent three years being taught by the Holy Spirit.
There is something that encourages me about Paul’s many journeys is that he did not look back after his experience and encounter with Jesus.
There has been a time in life where I have wondered if following Jesus was the right thing to do and I think we all fo through that, but the wondering stops when I realise the power of Grace over my life.
Paul was delivered from a fixed religious mindset, and now as he will say in this letter “it is for freedom that Christ set us free.”