Summary: The series of appearances by Jesus after his resurrection culminates in a most unexpected way with a most unexpected person -- Saul of Tarsus. The impact that this made on the primer persecutor of the Way changed his life and the lives of others forever!
1. Jeremy Lin clip ¨C Unseen potential http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUViw41Q7Hs&feature=related
(We used the first 2:17 minutes of this online video. It¡¯s a series of highlights of Jeremy Lin¡¯s powerful game-winning performance against the New Jersey Nets February 4th, 2012)
What you just observed is called Lin-sanity.
Jeremy Lin is newest the sensation of the 2012 NBA season. In the few short weeks since the game you just saw highlights from, the sales of his jerseys have skyrocketed to the most top selling item on the NBA market. In addition, his name is being placed on basketballs, shoes, hats, toys, etc. He has become one of the most popular basketball players of this season.
Lin is a Harvard Graduate. And while at Harvard, he led that college¡¯s basketball team to a record 21 wins. Because of his stellar performance, he was able to enter the NBA and begin to fulfill his dreams to be a professional basketball player.
The only problem was ¨C the NBA if filled with some of the best basketball players in the nation. And he was only one of many. And most teams weren¡¯t all that impressed with him. The Dallas Mavericks had him for a time As did the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. But he was eventually passed on to the NY Knicks (where he now plays).
But even Knicks¡¯ Coach said: ¡°I didn¡¯t know he could play defense, I didn¡¯t think he could shoot well enough and I didn¡¯t think he could go up and finish. I¡¯m going, ¡®He can¡¯t finish, can¡¯t shoot, can¡¯t play defense. I like his speed, but I don¡¯t know.¡±
Because of those doubts, Knicks were planning to trade Lin for another player on Feb. 10th.
But then ¨C just 6 days before that deadline - came February 4th. The Knicks faced the New Jersey Nets¡ and two of their best players were on the injured list. But even with those players, the Knicks were a terrible team ¨C they¡¯d lost far more games than they won that season.
When their point guard became injured, the Coach reluctantly put in Lin¡ and the world turned upside down. Lin led the Knicks to a 99-92 victory AND outplayed All-Star guard Deron Williams, scoring 25 points, and having five rebounds, and seven assists.
From that point on, Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to win the next 6 games, becoming an overnight sensation¡ and the press eagerly awaited interviews with him.
APPLY: But up until February 4, 2012 - nobody believed in Jeremy Lin.
3 teams had passed on him and the Knicks were just a week away from trading him
NOBODY wanted Lin. Nobody saw his true potential.
That is - until he got a chance to play in the game¡ and the rest is history.
2. 1 Corinthians 15.8-11
3. Yeshua (Jesus) had made appearances to many people during the 40 days he taught after his resurrection (Acts 1.13)
b. Impact of the appearances was to change the lives of those to whom he appeared
c. Many of them had not understood the potential of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah
d. Most had doubted him, yet look at the impact of these people on the world
4. He also appeared to a Pharisee named, Saul ¨C that event changed his life
I. Saul Did Not See the Potential in Yeshua (Jesus)
I read of an older lady who was expecting a gentleman friend to call on her later in the day. She was nervous because her eyesight was failing and was afraid her friend might reject her because she was less than perfect. So, she came up with a plan to prove to him that she could see perfectly.
She put a straight pin in a tree that was about 200 feet from her front porch.
When her friend arrived, they sat in the porch swing and were talking when she suddenly stopped the conversation and asked, "Is that a pin sticking in that tree?"
Her friend squinted his eyes and said, "I don¡¯t see a thing."
"Well, I¡¯m going to go see," she said as she jumped up, ran toward the tree, and collided with a cow.
8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15.8-9
A. Saul Saw Himself as a Defender of the Jewish Faith
3 ¡°I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili¡äcia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama¡äli-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. ¨C Acts 22.3-5