READING: Acts 9-10
Saul’s conversion was miraculous, to say the least. A bright light stuck him down as he made his way to persecute believers. A voice grabbed his attention: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? . . . I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:4-5). Blindness closed Saul’s eyes, and others had to lead him to Damascus to hear more from Ananias — who himself had received his own instructions in a vision. The drama was great as God worked in both the non-believer and the witness to connect them for the sake of the gospel.
What catches my attention in today’s reading are the words the Lord told Ananias about Saul: “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name” (Acts 9:16). From the beginning, Saul/Paul was called to a role that would cost him much. He preached in power in Damascus, and the Jewish leaders conspired to kill him (Acts 9:23). He escaped to Jerusalem with the help of other believers, but Hellenistic Jews in Jerusalem also tried to kill him (Acts 9:29). So, it wasn’t long before Paul the persecutor became Paul the persecuted.
At the same time, God was using Peter to heal paralyzed Aeneas (Acts 9:32-35), to raise Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-41), and to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48). Though the story in the book of Acts would soon focus almost entirely on Paul’s ministry, Peter was still one of God’s primary instruments to change the world. The world would never be the same after the fisherman apostle received his vision of a sheet dropping from the sky.
Today, God may call us to do mighty works like Peter, or He may call us into danger like Paul. In fact, He might lead us in both directions, using us to transform lives while we put our lives on the line to follow Him. We must choose to be faithful for the same reasons that Paul and Peter were: they knew that Jesus is the “Son of God” (Acts 9:20), the “Messiah” (Acts 9:22), the “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36), the One anointed “with the Holy Spirit and power” (Acts 10:38), the One “whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42). Because of who Jesus is, we march on regardless of the cost.
- You may recall that God often spoke to His prophets in the Old Testament. Now, we read of God’s speaking to Saul in his conversion experience. Once again, be amazed that the God of the Bible chooses to communicate with us. He is not a God who cannot speak.
- Pray today for believers around the world who are suffering for their faith.
PRAYER: “Jesus, I praise You for who You are. Use me however You wish, even if that calling includes danger and death.”
TOMORROW'S READING: Acts 11-13