Acts 9:1-9: Darkness to light

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 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.’  The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.”NIV

‘’Meanwhile’’ even as the church was expanding; even as ‘Philip’s’, led by the Spirit, preached the Word in diverse places, Saul was out to destroy the Christian movement. This was his avowed intent. He was committed and diligent in his quest to oppose the church and stop its progress. (Notice that Christians belong ‘to the Way’ in at least two senses: they follow Jesus who said,’’I am the way’’ – John 14:6 – and they endeavour to walk in His way.)  But God intervened. Never give up on anyone. Don’t stop praying. If Jesus could meet with someone like Saul, speak to him and turn him around, He can do it to anyone.

‘When God needs captains for his army, he not unseldom takes them from the ranks of the enemy.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.489.  Saul was obviously a strong man – used to being in charge; to getting his own way. From now on, he would know Jesus as ‘Lord’ (5). He would find himself under orders, submissive, obedient (6). Also, in the encounter with the risen Lord, Saul was humbled (8, 9). He found himself weak and needy and vulnerable. He was knocked off his high horse, and ‘fell to the ground’ (4), where he truly belonged – at the feet of Jesus. (It’s the place where we all belong did we but realise it.) He was blinded physically, but was made to see spiritually. For the rest of his days, this proud man would be led ‘by the hand’ (8) – led by an unseen hand. But he would learn to follow.

Don’t miss the important truth lying at the heart of the passage that what we do to Christians we do to Christ (4, 5). The Head and the body are one.

PRAYER: Lord, I pray for ………. You know it feels to me like he/she will never be converted. But I also know that you can do far more than we can ask or imagine. You are able.