“I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:17-18
Murderous Saul became the channel of the grace of Christ for the rest of life. What would do with Christ’s call?
Today’s insight is part of Paul’s testimony in front of King Agrippa. The conversion of Saul, a zealot Jew who opposed Christianity and Jesus Christ, to Paul an apostle and missionary of Jesus is an amazing, incredible and divine work of God. He became the great man who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament books of the Bible. He wrote the books of Romans, Galatians, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians and the list goes on. Paul says about himself, who he was before Jesus Christ encountered him. Listen to what he says in Acts 26:10-11.
He says he put many of the Lord’s people in prison. Not only he arrested the Christians but also he put them to death by giving his approval to kill them. He traveled from synagogue to synagogue and got the followers of Christ and punished them. He forced them to blaspheme. In other words, he pushed the saints and believers in Jesus Christ to renounce their faith in Him. He threatened them that he would kill them if they do not blaspheme or deny the faith in Christ. Those who did not renounce the faith he cruelly murdered. He says He was so obsessed with persecuting the Christians that he hunted them down even in foreign cities. Being a zealous follower of the Jewish Law, he believed he was doing justice and favor to the God in heaven by killing them. In 1 Timothy 1:13 he later admitted he acted in ignorance and unbelief. The early church feared only one name in those days, and that was the name of Saul. He wanted to shut down the spread of Jesus Christ movement and put an end to its growth.
When Stephen was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and proving that fact Jesus is the promised savior of the world, the members of the Sanhedrin were furious and gnashed their teeth, and they dragged out of the city and stoned him to death. When they were stoning Stephen to death, the people gave their shirts and coats at the feet of this young man, Saul. Bible said when they were stoning Stephen to death with the approval of Saul, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.” Saul was Stephen’s enemy. However, Stephen’s death, I believe, influenced this zealot Jew called Saul. Stephens’ was a very short life and only one preaching recorded from him in Acts 7. The first martyrdom was Stephan’s that launched the widespread growth of the early church.
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. He said this to King Agrippa, on the way to Damascus around noon time, Jesus confronted him. He fell on the ground when he saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun was blazing around him. He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” He got the answer, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’. Did you notice Saul was persecuting the believers in Jesus Christ and Lord was saying he was persecuting Him? Jesus says here -persecuting and attacking the believers in Christ is equal to persecuting and attacking Jesus Christ. Then the Lord said “Now get up on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.
Our today’s insight comes right here. Then Jesus said to him, “ I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
Beloved, Lord Jesus gave a brand new assignment and vision to Saul. God in heaven turned around Saul into a fantastic Paul. The change happened to him was humanly unbelievable. But “what is impossible to man is possible to God” Luke 18:27. The Lord revolved around his life 180 degrees for His divine and eternal purpose. The Lord would send him to his own people (Jews) and the Gentiles (foreign countries). What is going to be the result? As a result, he will open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and sanctification.
Saul gave the rest of his life for the call and purpose of Jesus Christ. He said to King Agrippa in Acts 26:19 that, “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.” He became the most significant missionary and apostle of Jesus Christ. He led many people to the true one living God. He preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and established churches and wrote many books in the New Testament section of the Holy Bible.
Beloved, if God can convert a cruel criminal like Saul to a loving servant of God, he can do the same thing in your life or in any one’s life. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15-17, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. However, for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
He testifies he was the worst of sinners. However, Christ displayed his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. All of his sins were washed away, wiped away by the power of the divine and innocent blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
My friend, Got a moment for today’s prayer? Father in heaven, I believe the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, can wipe away all of my sins. Lord if you had mercy and patience toward Saul who became Paul for your ministry, you can change me inside out by your divine touch and power. Lord, come to my heart and transform me and use me from today onwards for your eternal purposes. In Jesus Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”