From persecutor to preacher!
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?