[Column] Trials and Visions of Apostle Paul

Trials and Visions of Apostle Paul

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

Apostle Paul did not harbor the vision of evangelization of Rome immediately after his conversion. He received the vision when he ministered in Ephesus (Acts 19:21). Paul encountered Christ and became converted on his way to Damascus. As he headed to Damascus to preach the Gospel, he faced numerous death threats from Jews who considered him a traitor. In the middle of the night, Paul escaped Damascus and received the three year training of holiness in the Arabian desert. After that, he returned to Jerusalem and tried to do the work of God with the disciples only to be suspected by people. Their apprehension was from that Paul once persecuted Christians. Only after Barnabas confirmed Paul’s identity, was Paul able to meet Peter. Even in Jerusalem, Jews tried to persecute and kill him. As a result, Paul descended on his hometown Tarsus and spent thirteen years in reclusion.

Then Barnabas visited him and suggested joint ministry in Antioch which they led for a year. After a year, he along with Barnabas embarked on a missionary trip. As they were about to head for the second trip after several months of the first trip, there arose a huge conflict. While Barnabas wanted on the second trip Mark, who suddenly withdrew from the first trip, Paul objected citing Luke’s irresponsibility. Eventually, Paul and Barnabas parted and the two went on separate missionary trips: Barnabas with Mark and Paul with Silas. When Paul reached Ephesus after the second trip spanning 5,000 kilometers and the third trip spanning 6,000 kilometers, he realized that the ultimate vision God had given him was the evangelization of Rome.

Paul had to wait twenty years after his conversion to realize that His purpose had lied in Rome. In spite of the prophet Agabus’s prediction of persecution, Paul went up to Jerusalem, underwent death threats from Jews, interrogation by a Roman procurator, survived Euraquilo-storm, and finally arrived in Rome. In Rome, he lay the foundation of world evangelization. If Paul undertook the ministry of Roman mission shortly after his conversion, His printing ministry, character, and the fruit of his mission would have been incomplete. God knows our circumstances better than does anyone. If there are trials in our lives, they are the procedure for God to realize His visions in our lives. Like Paul, we must proceed with God as the ultimate source of hope in life and with God-given visions even if it takes time and even if there are trials. Let us not forget that like Paul each one of us has been called by God as a vision maker.


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