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Saul’s Conversion

Saul’s Conversion

Jesus appeared to Saul and ordered him to preach the good news of Jesus to all. ~ Wendy Blight

TODAY’S READING: ACTS 9

He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” — Acts 9:4

Today we encounter Saul, a man who experienced one of the most profound heart transformations in all of Scripture.

  • The man who ruthlessly ravaged and persecuted the Lord’s beloved sons and daughters became God’s greatest preacher and advocate.

At one point, Saul, filled with hatred and a zealousness to protect his Jewish heritage, sought official permission to pursue the believers who had escaped to Damascus after Stephen’s death and bring them back to Jerusalem to imprison them. If you want to read more of what Paul has to say personally about his background, read Philippians 3:1–10 and Galatians 1:13–17.

  • But God!

Don’t you love those words? God interrupted Saul’s plans because He had greater plans in store for him. While on the road to Damascus, Saul witnessed a light from Heaven flash about him, a light so brilliant and powerful he fell to the ground. In that moment, he heard a voice,

Saul, Saul why do you persecute me? — Acts 9:4

The men with him stood speechless, hearing nothing but seeing its effects.

1.Reread Acts 9:4. Who was Saul persecuting? How do you think those words impacted Saul? The God he thought he was so vigorously and viciously defending was actually the very one he was fighting.

Saul asked who was speaking to him. The Voice replied,

I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. — Acts 9:5

Jesus instructed Saul to get up and head into the city for more instructions.

As Saul got up to leave, he realized he was blind. For the next three days, Saul remained unable to see and did not eat or drink. The Lord put him in a place where he was dying to self. Letting go of what drove him for years. His heritage. His name. His identity. His reputation. His intelligence. All brought low compared to the glory of his God.

Can you imagine Saul’s emotions during that encounter? The One whom he alleged was dead and powerless. The One whose followers he had been imprisoning and persecuting left the splendor of Heaven to make Himself known to Saul.

What a glorious and intimate encounter! Saul met the living Christ that day.

2.Read Matthew 23:12. How does this verse come into play?

Saul obeyed Jesus’ instructions and went into the city to find a disciple and believer in Jesus named Ananias. The Lord had gone before Saul and given Ananias instructions as well. He warned him that Saul was coming. God instructed Ananias in a vision to go to Saul and restore his sight.

3.Read Acts 9:10–16. What specific instructions did the Lord give to Ananias? How did Ananias, who was a believer, respond to the Lord’s request? What did God say to comfort Ananias? What was Saul’s assignment from the Lord?

We know Ananias trusted the Lord’s words because in Acts 9:17, Ananias goes to Saul.

4.How does Ananias address Saul in verse 17?

I find this so powerful. He believed the Lord’s words so deeply that he called this persecutor of God’s people “brother.” Oh, that I would be so quick to respond when the Lord calls me to reconcile, ask forgiveness, be kind when everything in me says no because they don’t deserve it.

How does Ananias’ response to Saul encourage and equip you for the next time you face a challenge like this?

Ananias had a heart conversion as well. Trust and love replaced distrust and fear. He came to see Saul as a brother rather than an enemy.

Excerpted with permission from 40 Days Through the Bible by Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries Team, copyright Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries Team.

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Your Turn

Can you imagine the shock Paul had when he was passionately went after Christ followers to destroy them and then was struck by the living Jesus’ correction and call to faith? When Jesus calls us to 180 our thinking and go His way instead, how will we respond? And, how quickly? ~ Devotionals Daily