Daily RCL Bible Reading Devotional – April 14th, 2016

Scripture Reading(s)

Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)

9:1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

9:2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

9:3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

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

9:5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

9:6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

9:7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one.

9:8 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.

9:9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

9:10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

9:11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying,

9:12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”

9:13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;

9:14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.”

9:15 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;

9:16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

9:17 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.”

9:18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized,

9:19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus,

9:20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”


Lydia.jpgThis is one of the most intense stories of conversion that we read about in the Bible. The Bible, specifically the book of Acts, talks about how many came to Christ after Peter’s sermon, but this is God’s work being put on display in one of the most profound and powerful ways that we ever read about.

Saul (before he became Paul) was on one mission: to destroy the name of Christ and all those who were associated with Him. His intense hatred for the message of the Gospel caused him to kill and destroy thousands of lives. Men, women, children, young and old were dragged from their homes, were beaten, terrorized and killed.

This passage also depicts a deep need of God’s Grace and a deep need for us to show others, especially our enemies grace as well. Saul was seeking to kill and destroy the name of Jesus Christ. Yet, God knowing the intense sin that reigned in his heart, chose to seek him out and extend His hand of Grace and call him His own.

Ananias, upon hearing God’s command to go to Saul, was filled with both fear and shock at the fact that God would want to meet Saul at the point of his weakness. However, this was a deep rooted lesson in not only seeing God’s grace at work, but us practicing that same gracious attitude towards others as well. Ananias in the end, hearing that God was about to use this man to be a tool to spread the gospel, took on the role to be used by God to help bring sight back to Saul both physically and spiritually.

Upon receiving sight, Paul (no longer known as Saul) was no longer blinded by a hatred of Christ. His sight brought about an intense love for Jesus Christ and became one of God’s greatest tools and ambassadors of the Gospel.  God’s Grace overcame the deepest of sinners and not only trumped sin but used this man to bring lost souls to Christ.

Skeptics of the NT have doubted the conversion story of Paul but I think that Paul’s story makes more sense than any alternative. Paul was a persecutor of Christians. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews. How did this man change so radically that he not only came to preach Christ but that he then became an apostle to the gentiles? Keep in mind that before he would not of even wanted to walk on the same road as a gentile and now he is dining with them!

What ever happened to Paul had to be magnificent. It had to be detailed. It had to be real. No one makes that kind of conversion on a whim. He held fast to his ministry until he was most likely martyred. Truly, this is a man who encountered God. Skeptics should have no reason to believe that Paul’s story is embellished.

Furthermore, we should ask ourselves: after encountering God ourselves, are we doing the work He commanded us to? I am not suggesting we are all Pauls. But I am suggesting that, like Paul, we have work to do. We must stay steadfast to whatever the task is that the Lord has placed before us.

[Featured image from ifequip.com]


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