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Paul’s Conversion

15 Apr

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah. (Acts 9:1-22, NRSV)

This is a wonderful text that shows the power of a call from God. Saul wanted letters from the high priest to go to Damascus so he could arrest people of The Way if he found any. The Way is what they called those that followed Jesus. Not Christians, but followers of the way.

And Jesus met Saul on the road, and told him to go into the city. Now, why would Saul do this? He doesn’t believe in or follow Jesus. Why would he listen to a bright light? But he did.

The God tells Ananias to go to where Saul is and to lay hands on him and pray for him. Ananias is concerned because he has heard about the man and doesn’t want anything to do with him. Saul arrests followers of Jesus, puts them in jail, or worse has them put to death. This isn’t someone a follower of Jesus wants to mess with. You would want to keep a good distance between you and Saul as a follower of Christ. But God needs Ananias to go to Saul.

Has God ever called you to do something you didn’t want to do?

Asked you to go somewhere you didn’t want to go?

Ananias was really only trying to preserve his life. But sometimes God asks us to put everything on the line for His will.

And when Ananias was faithful to God, Saul was transformed from a persecutor of the way to a profound proclaimer of the way!

Saul saw the light! Literally and started confounding the Jews by his proclamation of Jesus.

Have you seen the light? Are you being called to do something you don’t want to?

Are you hesitant to follow where God is leading?

Just think of all of the great things that could happen if you are faithful.

 

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