The Greatest Text Message | Acts 9:1-19 | Devotional
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 traveling 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. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered. The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight." "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord-- Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here-- has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
God’s “chosen instrument” to take His message to the general populace was, from an observer’s standpoint, a very odd choice. Why not Peter? He was the born leader and the outspoken disciple who was growing the church with his Spirit-filled sermons. Why not Matthew? He had experience working with the Gentiles from his past days as a tax collector. Why not John? He walked as close with Jesus as anyone, and the Lord even entrusted His mother to John’s care. God did not consult man’s short-list. To carry the message of Jesus to the world, God chose a Jewish lawyer with a passion to persecute everyone who believed in the message of Jesus. Sound logical to you?
Headed to Damascus to persecute the church, Paul was stopped in his tracks. A flash of bright light! God’s audible voice thundering from heaven! Blindness for three days! God decided not to use a college sophomore to give Paul the Four Spiritual Laws and tell him, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” God handled this one on His own (He always does) and asked a reluctant Ananias to provide the human touch. God did not change Paul’s passion, He simply redirected His aim.
Today, thirteen of the twenty-seven New Testament books are inspired by God through the training, experience, and pen of the Apostle Paul. Through three missionary journeys, persecution, and imprisonment, Paul took the message he once despised and delivered it with power to his world. While some conversions appear more dramatic than others, all are really Damascus Road experiences. God has called you as His instrument. How are you being used?