Saul, himself, made one or two mistakes. For example, when he was standing before the high priest at his trial, and he said to all the Sanhedrin,
I have lived in all good conscience before GOD to this day.
' The high priest commanded the one that was near him ,'Hit him on the mouth!' So the officer did. And Paul spat back at the high priest and said, 'GOD will smite you too, you whitewashed wall.' He lost his cool. 'I didn't know that was the high priest,' and when they told him, 'How dare you speak like that to the high priest?' He said, 'I'm sorry, I didn't realize he was the high priest, because the Torah says you are not to revile your leaders.' So he apologized.
You see, we are fallible. I thoroughly sympathize with Saul. I might have said even more than what he said; but that doesn't make it right. What he is saying is, 'I am the sent-one, but don't look at me. Look at the One Who sent me. I am an apostle of YESHUA Ha'Mashiach. I am sent by the Messiah. Now I said that that vision that Isaiah had, in Chapter 6, was Messiah. Our text for today is from John, chapter 12 verse 37 which is a direct quote from Isaiah, chapter 6, verse 10. Consider also John chapter 12 verse 41:
'These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory' [that's YESHUA'S glory],
'and spoke of Him.'[YESHUA].
This is what we call a 'theophany'. Messiah appeared to His people, as the GOD of Israel! He appeared to Moses and the seventy elders of Israel when they went up the mountain after GOD had made terms of the Covenant with His people; in Exodus, Chapter 24, GOD said to Moses,
'Come up to the mountain; come up to the LORD,' (Exodus 24, verse 1);
'you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar.' And we read furthermore that they went up (in verse 10),
'they saw the GOD of Israel.' The GOD of Israel that they saw is the GOD of Israel that Isaiah and Ezekiel and Daniel and others saw. And that GOD of Israel was the Son of GOD, the Second Person in the GODHEAD; He is the Only visible expression of the Father. In Him we see the Father! That's how we make it good.
So he was sent, just as Isaiah was, but then also, the One Who sent him was sent, in turn, by the Father. Isaiah 48 and verse 16, we hear the voice of the Messiah speaking, and He says; (Isaiah 48 and verse 16):
'Come near to me, hear this: 'I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there.' And now the LORD GOD and His Spirit has sent Me.' We have the Triunity of GOD here; the One Who sends is the LORD GOD. We have also His Spirit also sending this One, and the One Who is sent, is the Messiah.
So he is called in the Book of Hebrews, the apostle and high priest of our confession. The Father sends Messiah, then Messiah delegates his mandate to His disciples; and Paul was one of them.
'Paul, an apostle of YESHUA Ha'Mashiach, by the will of GOD.' What he is saying is, 'I didn't put myself in that position; I did not choose it. At the time the LORD appeared to me and said, 'I want you to do this' he said, 'I was breathing threatenings and slaughter' against His disciples. 'I was on the road to Damascus and He stopped me dead in my tracks; and he turned me around and in that split second, He made me go in the opposite direction. It was certainly not my will; it was His.'
When GOD steps in, nobody can say, 'No'. Moses, we read about Moses in Exodus, Chapter 3, feeding his flock at the back of the mountain of GOD; and he saw a bush burning with fire. When he came near, he found out that it was GOD in the form of a fire that was in the middle of that burning bush. And GOD says to him,
'I have surely seen the oppression of My people,' (you'll find it in Exodus 3),
'who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.' When He says,
'I know their sorrows, I share their pain.' Then in verse 10:
'Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.' That took Moses' breath away! He gasped. He was speechless, and then he said,
'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?' He was aghast! This man who, forty years before, was ready to fight to the death for his people, now was terrified. GOD just says,
'Come now, I will send you.' That was GOD's will for him. Oh, he kept on arguing with GOD, and at last GOD says, Chapter 4, verse 12:
'Now, therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.' Moses couldn't say 'no' to GOD; he argued, and at last GOD got angry with him. But GOD will not take 'no' for an answer, and Moses capitulated, and through him GOD worked great miracles and redemption for all the tribes of Israel.