Monday, March 23, 2009
Acts 9:1-17 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 8 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Stopped in his tracks as he is carrying out his mission Paul is confronted with how wrong that he has been about Jesus. There has been a few times in my life that I wish that God would have sent down a light brighter than the sun and would have had a conversation with me and he would have turned me around.
A Pharisee converts to “The Way”? Are you serious? That would be blasphemy. The Pharisees were so opposed to Jesus and would have nothing to do with the gospel message but here one of their own has had a miraculous conversion experience and we don’t have any evidence that the Pharisees as a whole ever realized that Jesus was the Messiah. They still continued to oppose the church even after Paul became such a champion for the church.
If you are going down the wrong road in life you better be careful. God isn’t showing Himself in burning bushes or flashes of light from heaven. We have the Bible, his instructions for life, to help us stay on the straight and narrow road. That’s why it is so important to stay in his instruction book and learn how to live for him.
Draw me close to you through your word, show me the way to live so that I will not get off track. Make me as zealous to work for you as Paul was.