Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paul and the Crucifixion

Was our Apostle Paul present at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?

The short answer is, we don’t know.  The bible doesn’t bear that out.  We can only speculate about it. 

Paul was a Pharisee.

Acts 23:6
But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee:

Philippians 3:5
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Many of the Pharisees did not believe on the Lord Jesus; they actually hated him.

Matthew 12:14
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

Luke 6:7
And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.

John 9:16
Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

We know that there were some Pharisees who did believe.

Luke 7:36
And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.

Luke 13:31
The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.

John 3:1-2
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Acts 15:5
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

There were some leaders in Israel who secretly believed on him but would not confess him.

John 12:42
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

In Acts 9 the Lord meets Paul on the road to Damascus.

Acts 9:3-5

And as he [Saul of Tarsus/Paul] journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Those ‘pricks’ were definitely convictions that Paul had in his heart; God was reading his heart.  We know that the word of God was convicting Paul.  He knew the word; he just didn’t believe the word referred to Jesus of Nazareth.  He had to see the resurrected Christ.  He saw the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ from heaven’s glory.  It is possible that he saw the death of Jesus at the end of his earthly ministry.

Could Paul have been at the crucifixion? Quite frankly, yes he could have been.  Many of Israel’s religious leaders were there railing against Jesus.

Matthew 27:39-41
And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,  And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.  Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,  He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.   He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

But we can’t know for sure if Paul was there with them.

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