The apostle Paul is one of my heroes.
On a recent visit to Malta where Paul was shipwrecked for three months as described in the book of Acts in chapters 27 and 28, I visited some of the sites associated with him: the offshore small island where he is thought to have first set foot in Malta; a church marking his time there with a pillar reported to have been used for his beheading in Rome and it is believed his right wrist bone, set in a gold hand; a cave where he is thought to have lived and preached. In each of these places there is a very impressive, tall, imposing statue of Paul, looking like a mix between Charlton Heston in The Ten commandments and Russell Crowe in Noah.
But people described him as being unimpressive in person (2 Cor 10 v 10) and he had an ongoing physical problem (2 Cor 12 v 7). A book from around 150 AD describes him as a small man, bald headed, bow legged, with eyebrows meeting and a rather long nose. This would have been a very different looking statue to the ones I saw.
Also he was not a trained speaker in the classical sense (2 Cor 11 v 6) and his letters were (are) hard to understand (2 Pet 3 v 16). Paul humbly describes himself as the worst of sinners (1 Tim 1 v 16), with no good in him (Rom 7 v 18). He went though huge difficulties in life (2 Cor 6 v 4 – 10, 11 v 23 – 28, 12 v 10) facing death many times.
Yet God used him in amazing ways, His power made perfect in Paul’s weaknesses (2 Cor 12 v 9).
How do you like your heroes?
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