We know the Apostle Paul as the man that suffered for Jesus and suffered for his faith to bring people to Jesus and preach the gospel. Before that, he was a terrible man by the name of Saul. He imprisoned and killed Christians.
1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2and 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. Acts 9:1-2 NIV
He was nearing Damascus and was stopped in his tracks by a light from Heaven that surrounded him. This caused him to fall to the ground. He was stopped in his steps.
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.” Acts 9:3-6 NIV
Imagine Jesus stopping you in your place when you know what you are doing is wrong. He is done that to me and it gave me goosebumps. It does not matter who you are or what you do. Jesus can convert anyone!
When Saul got up, his eyes were closed and he could see nothing and he had to be led by hand to Damascus. This lasted for 3 days. He could not eat or drink.
In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias whom Jesus contacted in a vision. He called out to Ananias and Ananias responded.
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 holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” Acts 8:11-14 NIV
Ananias knew of Saul’s reputation, but Jesus knew his potential and Jesus had plans for Paul. He saw past his past sins and knew that there was something more to do with Saul, who regained his sight and became a great Apostle.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to 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. Acts 9:15-19 NLT
With that, Saul became Paul and he had to suffer for Christ and suffer for the faith and he never gave up even when he was martyred. It does not matter what you have done in your past. It is what you do now and in the future. As Paul was converted, so are we. Stand tall in your faith. We may not be perfect, but we are God’s children. He has huge plans for those that seek Him. Praise be to God!
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