Scripture reading for May 18th: Acts 9
After the stoning of Stephen, Saul began to destroy the church! (Acts 8:3) He rounded up believers and had them imprisoned and heartily felt he was doing God a favor by keeping Judaism free from their false teaching about Jesus! He obtained letters from the High Priest authorizing him to take prisoners of any believers found in the synagogues of Damascus. However, on the way there, he met Jesus Christ personally!
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” “Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, He replied.” (Acts 9:3-5) The same Jesus who appeared standing at the Father’s right hand to receive Stephen into glory now responded to Stephen’s prayer, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60) Saul had been there holding the coats of those stoning him! Saul got up and found he could not see and those with him lead him into Damascus where he waited three days and nights without food or drink!
The Lord spoke to Saul in a dream about a man coming to lay hands on him. The Lord also spoke to the man, Ananias, instructions to go to Saul. Ananias questioned the Lord, concerned about Saul’s murderous intent, which was well known to the believers in Damascus. Jesus simply said, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My Name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.” (Acts 9:15) Ananias laid hands on Saul and his sight was restored and he began to preach Jesus as the Christ! What a difference an encounter with Jesus can make! Have you received Him?
Scripture reading for June 13th: Acts 9:1-25
What was you conversion like? I remember going to an altar at the little Methodist church on a Thursday night youth meeting in response to the Gospel. I heard the message and knew I needed to make a commitment. I remember the feeling of change and the excitement of knowing sins forgiven. We should all think back and remember our time of change! God saw fit to record the change in one of His servants, Saul, that we read about today.
Saul was a Pharisee, zealous for the Jewish tradition. He saw in the Christians a threat to His traditions and became very zealous to rid the world of them. To his way of thinking, these people needed to be eliminated. He went to the high priest and got letters authorizing him to arrest any of this sect he called ‘the Way’. (Acts 9:1-2)
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute Me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:3-6) Saul was confronted by Jesus, Himself as he went to round up more Christians. Jesus told him who He was and that his actions were against Him! The revelation of Jesus was in a bright light that flashed like lightning around Saul. When he got up to go, he was blind and those with him had to lead him into the city by the hand, where Saul prayed and fasted for three days.
In Damascus, another disciple named Ananias was given a vision of the Lord. As he responded, the Lord told him to go to the house where Saul was praying and lay hands on him to restore his sight. Ananias told the Lord his concerns, but he was reassured and sent to Saul. “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.” (Acts 9:15-16) Saul’s sight was restored and he was filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized in water. The miraculous conversion would change the world!