Tuesday: Saul in Damascus

During Saul’s encounter with Jesus, he was blinded and then instructed to go to the house of a man named Judas and to wait there for another man, Ananias. No doubt Saul’s physical blindness was a powerful reminder of the greater spiritual blindness that led him to persecute the followers of Jesus.

The appearance of Jesus to him on the Damascus road changed everything. Where Saul had thought he had been so right, he had been dead wrong. Rather than working for God, he had been working against Him. Saul entered Damascus a different man than the proud and zealous Pharisee who had left Jerusalem. Instead of eating and drinking, Saul spent his first three days in Damascus in fasting and prayer as he reflected on all that had happened.

Read Acts 9:10–14. Imagine what must have been going on in the mind of Ananias: not only was Saul, the persecutor, now a believer in Jesus, he was also Paul, God’s chosen apostle to take the gospel to the Gentile world(see Acts 26:16–18).

No wonder Ananias was a little confused. If the church in Jerusalem was hesitant to accept Paul some three years after his conversion (Acts 9:26–30), one can imagine what questions and concerns filled the hearts of the believers in Damascus only days after the event!

Notice, too, that Ananias was given a vision by the Lord telling him the surprising and unexpected news about Saul of Tarsus; anything less than a vision might not have convinced him that what he was told about Saul was true—that the enemy of the Jewish believers had now become one of them.

Saul had left Jerusalem with the authority and commission of the chief priests to root out the Christian faith (Acts 26:12); God had, however, a vastly different commission for Saul, one that rested on far greater authority. Saul was to take the gospel to the Gentile world, an idea that must have been even more shocking to Ananias and the other Jewish believers than was the conversion of Saul himself.

Where Saul had sought to curtail the spread of the Christian faith, now God would use him to spread it far beyond anything that Jewish believers ever would have imagined.

Read 1 Samuel 16:7Matthew 7:1, and 1 Corinthians 4:5. What is the message of these texts in regard to why we must be careful in how we view the spiritual experience of other people? What mistakes have you made in your judgments about others, and what have you learned from those mistakes?



Tuesday: Saul in Damascus — 3 Comments

  1. I have always said; "ignorance can kill". Sin blinds us. When we choose not to follow Jesus through the counsels of the Word of God, we become ignorant, blinded to the simplest truths. So many people is the history books of this world have suffered and died because somebody chose not to listen to the counsels of God.
    Psalm 112:1
    Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
    Psalm 128:1
    Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
    Isaiah 5:21
    Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
    Psalm 146:8
    The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind
    Isaiah 35:5
    Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

    God takes no delight in Ignorance.
    God chose Paul who was living in ignorance, just like the people that He commissioned him to go out and teach. Just as God opened his eyes to the truth about the Kingdom of God, Paul was to go forth telling the people the truth of Jesus and His Righteousness asking Him to open their eyes also.

  2. Interesting points, Eric. Thanks for sharing.

    What I got from the lesson is something that I have experienced and wondered about for years. God using the most troubled souls as an effective tool for ministry. I wondered if someone who was well seasoned and cultured in a church can truly effective as those who had a spectacular conversion experience e.g. almost died, grew up on drugs, etc..

    Here is Paul, a man passionate for the wrong reasons is chosen and given different matching orders from the most high and goes on to be one of the most effective evangelist for Christ. It is interesting that God at times use someone of a different perspective or background to remind His people what's what.

    The question is when these men or women come into our churches, how do we accept them? Do we ask the question whether they are filled with the Holy Ghost or do we get so caught up with their passion,history, lack of understanding of the church's culture, their directness about the follies of our state.

    It is interesting that he found more resistance from those within and was commissioned to go to the Gentiles. I hope our study of Paul is used a similar manner where we go out and teach and not just keep preaching to the choir and the pews. 🙂

  3. Paul believed in what he was doing with all his heart. Not knowing he was doing the wrong but when he had the experience with Jesus and his ways were shown him he took that same zeal and used it for good. He was going to be the most powerful disciple to witness to the Gentiles. Goes to show sometimes we get caught up in our own plans and we think we are right and sometimes we need to stop and pray and listen to make sure we ourselves are doing what God wants us to do and not what we think He wants us to do.


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