The following is the account of God’s call upon Saul, who became Paul. Was God showing him favor and disregarding the others with Saul? Reading the story there is the potential of the others with Saul becoming jealous.
Acts 26: 9-16
9 "So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 "And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them.
11 "And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.
12 "While thus engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests,
13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me.
14 "And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 "And I said, ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
16 ‘But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;…
Reading the context, it was not only Saul who was persecuting and pursuing Christians. There were men with Saul going to Damascus. According to vs 13 a light from heaven surrounded all the men with Saul, not just Saul. We know Saul saw the light based upon his own words, not sure if other men did, but it would be safe to say that if the light was ‘shining all around’ that others had to have seen the light also. This we do know, ‘all had fallen to the ground’. So, all the men had an encounter with God. vs 14 says Saul heard a voice. It does not say if the others heard the voice or not. It would not be unreasonable to believe that the others heard the voice also, since they were surrounded with the light and they fell to the ground. But the voice was directed to Saul. vs 16 is the call of God upon Saul whose named was changed to Paul.
Here are some questions to ponder:
Is Saul the only one out of the group that got saved? Was he the only one that was called to ministry? Did God love Saul more than the others?
Is Saul the only one out of the group that got saved?
Would it be safe to say that since all the men were surrounded by the light, fell to the ground, and at the least know what the Lord said to Saul, that at least some of the other men were saved? We don’t know, but I think we can make some assumptions. From the original account of this story in Acts 9, Saul became blind and the men had to lead him. Later Ananias sees Saul, prays for him and Saul regains his eyesight and is baptized in the Holy Spirit. There had to be others with him. It would only make sense that some of those with Saul would accept Christ.
Was he the only one that was called to ministry?
There is nothing in scripture that any of the other men were called to ministry. But does this mean that no others were called in ministry? The only thing we can assume is that none of the others were called into a public ministry like Paul’s ministry. But doesn’t it make sense, after all that happened, that some turned away from persecuting Christians, became Christians, and served the Lord? We must remember the emphasis was on Paul, because he would be the author of much of the New Testament. Just because we may be in the sidelines does not mean that we cannot be used by God. The question each of us must ask ourselves is-"Am I willing to be used by God if I am not in the limelight? If I have been surrounded by God’s glory and knocked down to the ground, will I be obedient to God and serve him even if the guy next to me seems to have special favor from God." Or am I not satisfied with God’s glory and I want to be in the spotlight?
Did God love Saul more than the others?
Everything we read in the text makes it appear that God showed special favor to Saul-that maybe God loved Saul more than others. Does showing special favor mean, special or more love. I don’t think so. Favor and love are two different things. I can love two people exactly the same, but I may see in one person there are unique traits, talents, etc. that I feel lead to help them grow in. It does not mean I love the other person less.
I believe the Lord saw qualities in Saul that would help to make him an Apostle Paul. There was something about Saul that was unique compared to the others. The Lord saw within Saul that he would be one who could handle trials and tribulations for the sake of the Gospel. So, it wasn’t that the Lord loved Saul more. Instead, maybe he loved the others so much that he protected them from the unique call that Saul ha because the Lord knew they would not be able to handle the hardships. So, he actually showed them favor by calling Saul instead of them.
Let’s not be jealous of the calling of another individual. Instead, let’s be faithful to the call of God on our own life. As we are faithful, the Lord can trust us in more, whatever the more may be. Be careful of wanting ‘more’ from God. The more invariably has a price tag on it-your time, energy, and maybe even your life.