Last January, I wrote a brief post wondering where Saul of Tarsus (later the apostle Paul) was during Jesus' earthly ministry and crucifixion. He was present at Stephen's stoning which means, in the historical timeline of the book of Acts, that he was almost surely alive during His ministry. He was schooled by Gamaliel, and he was a Pharisee, so he would have been familiar with the happenings in Jerusalem. I wondered if he could have been the rich young ruler spoken of in the gospels.
Well tonight at our bible study, we looked at Matthew 19's account (read Matthew 19:16-30 here) in the context of God's seemingly "unfair" system of rewards with the first being last and the last first. It struck me that he would have been the last of the apostles, but first in fame and writer of more NT material than the rest. He was known as the apostle to the Gentiles. When He told His disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter heaven, they wondered who could enter. Jesus said that with God, all things are possible.
He could have been prophesying about this man right on the spot without any of them knowing it. If this were Paul, the rest of them would have come to know him later on. Paul would fit the rest of this passage, too. He would be one of the twelve who sat on a throne, he was rich, a young ruler. His rejection by Christ because of his covetous heart toward material things could have triggered a resentment toward Him. He went away grieving, but that could have turned to malice and persecution of those who were followers. Of course, all this is speculative reading between the lines. Maybe some archaeologist will dig something up on this someday. Until then...
Read Part 2 and Part 3