February 06, 2023
What happens when you combine a desperate man, a revealing Christ, and a courageous messenger?
A changed life.
AN AGRESSIVE PERSECUTOR
The early church had enemies trying to destroy God's work. One was a religious leader named Saul, whose story is recorded in Acts 9. He was aggressive in his desire to extinguish the fledging church, asking for letters to go to Damascus and capture Christians. Saul was a brilliant Pharisee with a decided anger toward Christ. Believers knew of him and were afraid. Surely Saul was no candidate for Christianity.
AN AGGRESSIVE SAVIOR
On the way, Christ appeared to Saul. He spoke to him with a voice from heaven and indicated that Saul was persecuting Him as he tormented Christians, for He and His children are one. He blinded the persecutor and told him to go into the city and wait.
A DESPERATE, HUMBLED SEEKER
For three days and nights, Saul was without sight and “neither ate nor drank.” Later, it was revealed that during those dark days, “he was praying” (Acts 9:11). Pause and think of what Saul was experiencing. Everything he believed was turned upside down. Saul sat without a drop of water or food for the same number of days that Christ experienced between the cross and resurrection. Can you imagine what he was thinking? Somewhere in this darkness, he began to cry out to God.
A COURAGEOUS SERVANT
Across town, there was another man, a humble follower of Jesus. He heard the voice of Christ also, calling him to go to this violent persecutor. Ananias had a choice to make (the same choice that we must make continually.) There were two voices he heard … the voice of the crowd versus the voice of Christ.
And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for 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 harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine.” (Acts 9:11-15)
With no objections, Ananias headed to the one who had the human authority to take his life. A higher authority had filled this simple follower with courage. He brought the gospel to the waiting blind man, and instantly Saul was saved both physically and spiritually.
So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized. (Acts 9:17-18)
This man, later renamed Paul, would eventually write two-thirds of the New Testament and become the greatest disciple and missionary the world has ever known. God had great plans for the persecutor.
But the Lord said to (Ananias), “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.” (Acts 9:15)
What accomplished this dramatic conversion? A humbled sinner, a courageous believer, and a gracious Savior.
What Saul is in your path, waiting to hear the truth of the gospel so they can receive their sight? Christ might lead you to the most unlikely candidate today, one that others would never consider. Listen to the voice of Christ and follow His promptings. You might discover the revealing Christ has gone before you, preparing someone for a life of great usefulness.
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