Conversion of Saul
Conversion of Saul
In the beginning, Luke tells us an important thing; he tells us that when God began to do a work in Saul, Saul was still breathing threats. Do you understand that God does works in us before we are ready to claim the gift? (NRSV)
The Conversion of Saul
9 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
This Saul was bold in his work to stop those who were in the Way. Did you notice this scripture? Saul wants letters. I think of it as a permission slip. As a young man I used to have to go to the office, from time to time, to get a slip allowing access to the classroom. Perhaps you might look at it as a wanted poster. Which ever way you choose to look at the situation, Saul was hunting those of the Way and bringing before the authorities for trial.
But as Saul was on his way, he encountered the Lord.
3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. (NRSV)
4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Who are you, Lord? Notice that Saul expects that something has happened that is not worldly. I think we all encounter things we cannot explain, yet we often find a way to explain them away. The happenings of this incident are so significant that Saul is captivated and moved by these things.
5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Notice also that others were traveling with Saul and they heard the voice as well. They although do not see anyone. Perhaps over time they found a way to reason away the events of that day, but Saul is left without sight.
8 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. (NRSV) And this all caused him to be a little off his game you might say.
9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. I find it interesting that it took six days to travel from Jerusalem to Damascus. God worked for six days and on the seventh day he rested.
9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
I will tell you that Saul was considered to be a man of iron will, and yet these people that he was taking into custody, these people who were conspiring against the Roman government, were difficult at best to deal with; perhaps Saul had met his match. I speak of this because God had seen something in Saul, perhaps that iron will.
The Lord speaks to Ananias. (NRSV)
10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” This was a disciple of God and yet listen to what Ananias has to say about Saul. (NRSV)
13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;
Sometimes I feel that way about my latest appointment. God calls and says Clint, go, and I say, but Lord I want to stay here because I can make a difference here. The Lord needs people with an iron will, but aimed in the right direction.
Saul was headed the wrong direction but God saw great usefulness in him. He sees that in you and me.
15 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;
And so even though Ananias was not in agreement with the usefulness of Saul, he went and did as the Lord asked. This is what it means to serve. Saul was a great servant, and God is looking for great servants.
The final act of this passage and message is the confirmation. (NRSV)
17 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.” You see Saul knew that something had happened, he knew it was from something powerful, but until Ananias showed up and confirmed his suspicions, it was only that, a suspicion.