Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 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. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
In Acts 9 we see the power of God at work in full display. The first century church is blowing and going. God is at work with many people being saved and the church as a whole growing in community. However, with the movement came intense opposition led by a man by the name of Saul. He was a devout religious man who was against this new movement of Christianity because he saw it as blasphemous in nature. He was a witness in the first martyr of the Christian faith with Stephen being stoned in Acts 6, and basically carried the mantle in continuing the efforts to stamp out the movement. In chapter 9 on his way to arrest more Christians, Saul meets Jesus and his life is changed forever. In a span of one chapter, he went from persecuting Christians to preaching the same Gospel he was opposed to. WOW! Listen, the movement of God cannot be stopped!
There have been many throughout history who have tried to stamp out the movement of Christianity. Whether it be through differing government agencies, philosophical ideologies pushed into mainstream culture, or flat out persecution, the efforts to stamp out the movement has been widespread and intense. The reality though is that it still cannot be stopped. Here’s the deal, God is still at work, He is still saving people; there are still many growing in Christ and many who are still living on mission for Him. Hallelujah! Our God is alive and at work all around us! I believe there are some challenges the Lord gives us in this passage that we can take away and apply to our life regarding the movement of God.
- Believe in the God of the Movement- Do you and I truly believe that God has the power to save anybody who calls on His name? Do we truly believe that God has the power to make the foulest of human beings clean? Because the truth is that He does. He has the power to save your friend that is far away from God. He has the power to break the chains of addiction in that family member’s life. He was able to save a man that was a literal enemy of Him. What makes us think He isn’t able to do the same to those in your life who are lost?
Isaiah 59:1 puts it this way; “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.”
- Be a Vessel in the Movement: In verse 10 we see a man by the name of Ananias step onto the scene. He was merely known as a disciple who lived in the area who loved God, perhaps he was one of the ones Saul was coming to arrest. However, God calls him out to go and minister to Saul. Ananias originally had his reservations. I mean, he had heard about this Saul and may have been afraid, but God comforted him and he went.
What if we chose to be obedient to the Lord when he calls us to go and minister to those who are hurting? What if we chose to be obedient to go and share with that friend God has placed on your heart time and time again? God allows and desires us to take part in His great work that He is doing all around the world. The question is, will we be a vessel?
May we understand the truth today that the movement of God cannot be stopped and choose to join in on the movement, trusting that God is still big enough to move and change hearts and lives.
PRAYER FOR TODAY: Dear heavenly Father Lord, thank you for your love for me! Thank you that you are the Sovereign Lord over all the earth; that you are still able to move and to change the hearts and lives of those all around us! Give me the strength and desire to be a vessel for the movement of Christ today. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.