May 9, 2023 – Acts 9 – Saul's conversion
Now comes one of the most pivotal stories in the New Testament aside from everything about Jesus, of course! This man, Saul, was a man whose mission was to hunt down and arrest followers of the Way. That is what the emerging Christians were called in the first century. He was a bad man… an enemy of Jesus. Not someone the disciples would have chosen to be the ambassadors of Christ to the Gentiles, that is for sure!
On his way to Damascus, armed with letters asking for cooperation in his apprehension of any followers, Saul encounters Jesus! Not in the way that you or I encounter him. Nope! Jesus shows up! First as a blinding light and then by speaking aloud directly to Saul asking him why he was doing this. Why persecute me, Jesus asks… The whole thing left Saul without sight and with instructions to meet with a man in Damascus named Ananias. After that meeting, Saul’s sight was restored, he completely changed his ways and eventually got a new name moving forward.
Saul became Paul, the author of many of the books of the New Testament. Instead of being an accuser and arrester of the Christians, he was now a voice for Jesus to the Gentiles, While Peter and the crew continued to reach out to the Jews.
What I want us to wrestle with is this… What does it take to get your attention? I have often heard of people looking for or waiting for a sign from God before they move or act on something. What they are hoping for and frankly expecting, is a clear-cut, unmistakable message from God to “go this way.” Not unlike what happened to Paul. But God doesn’t often work that way and many of his signs regrettably go unnoticed. While Paul was blinded by the overwhelming light of Jesus, we are often blinded to the subtle nudges or promptings of the Holy Spirit, holding out instead for the boom moment.
My prayer for you and me today is to be more open to that still small voice of God, calling us to move. But be on the lookout for the boom too!
Questions for reflection:
- When was the last time you were looking for a sign from God? What was it regarding? What happened?
- What often gets in your way when you try to hear from God? How can you work today to remove some of those things?