I love the word epiphany. Synonyms of epiphany are: revelation, or realization, or discovery. Often the Holy Spirit reveals a new understanding of scripture to me and I have an ah-ha! moment or an epiphany. This morning was one of those moments.
The scripture I read Romans 1. Here is the verse which struck me in a new way:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son…
Paul, once self-righteously sought out followers of Jesus in order to have them imprisoned or killed. Condemning their disregard for the established priesthood of Israel, he now calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ, an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God!
What struck me this morning were the words called and set apart for the gospel. Paul quite literally was called by Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus. (Acts 9) Paul heard a voice cry out to him on his journey and when he asked who was speaking Jesus replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”
Then in Jerusalem, Jesus spoke to Paul again, “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me’...“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ” (Acts 22:17-18, 21 NIV)
There is no denying Jesus called Paul and gave him specific direction—to go to the Gentiles with the good news of the Gospel. Paul was set apart with a specific call from God.
But what about you and me—are we set apart for the gospel?
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20 NIV)
Clearly we are called by Jesus to go and make disciples.
But my ah-ha—God set me apart for the gospel. He opened my ears and called me by name, he opened my eyes and gave me an awareness of my sin and need of salvation, he opened my heart gave me his righteousness and his Spirit. My life was changed the moment Jesus called me and I was set apart. My life is to be a testimony of the good news of Jesus Christ—judgment is paid for on the cross, enslavement to fear and sin is conquered by his resurrection, and the future is eternally glorious!
You too are set apart for the gospel if you have been saved by Jesus Christ. Oh, what good news we have to spread!
Let’s exalt his name together!