This week we’re learning how Jesus interrupted the life of a man named Saul, a notorious attacker of Christians, and turned it right around.
He did it by throwing him off his horse on a Christian hunting trip, blinding him, and leaving him blind and thirsty for three days.
Not just a private hallucination, the Bible clearly calls out that others heard the same voice asking Saul why he was persecuting him…as in Jesus.
He clearly got taught a thing or two. He is not as big a deal as he thinks, at least in God’s eyes. For a Pharisee, this was devastating. Pharisees were the religious legalists, the ones who thought they knew best what God wanted, and made sure that they and others did it.
Saul/Paul later describes himself as having been the best of the best, the most zealous Pharisee he could think of. He was a bit of a prodigy, he was going places. Is it possible he forgot the point? That this was about his power and reputation more than God’s, now? Or was he really just locked into the old religious paradigm, unable to see what God was doing until God blinded him and reopened his eyes? It’s hard to say for us.
But either way, to have God interrupt a lifetime of supposedly righteous behaviour, and tell you to stop bugging him, is a bit of a morale killer for a prodigy! It was lifechanging for Saul, certainly.
But there was another character in yesterday’s story, Ananias. God appears to him in a vision as well, and tells him to go to a particular house, find a man named Saul praying. We didn’t include this in the reading yesterday, but here’s how he answered.
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
(Acts 9:13-16 ESV)
He learns something here, too. What do you think it is?
Question: What might Ananias, and the other early Christians, be learning right alongside Saul?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]