His personal influence
The next time we read of Saul is in Acts 9 where he uses his influence and religious fervor to persuade the High Priest to give him letters of authority and take them to the synagogues in Damascus. This gave him the right to arrest the believers and put them in prison.
It seems he had a group of others going with him with the same intent to harm the disciples. How often we see this today that the few can stir up many to follow their evil ways. Just picture in your mind the speed he traveled to achieve his objective breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. (Acts 9:1)
How far people will go when they leave God out of their reasoning even though they think they are doing him a service!
His amazing conversion
It’s interesting the Lord allowed him to almost reach the end of his journey for it says, he came near Damascus. (Acts 9:3) Suddenly he is stopped in the way when a light shone around him from Heaven.
Reflecting upon this experience later, the light seemed to get brighter each time he thought about it. The light was so great making him blind and he fell to the ground.
Then there was a voice which spoke his name, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) His answer was profound, “Who are you, Lord?” (Acts 9:5) The response received from the One he called Lord was, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting…” (Acts 9:5)
What a revelation to his soul because his attitude towards the disciples was really a despising of the Name he hated – Jesus of Nazareth! This was the same person Stephen had spoken to him about! Dear believers remember the real opposition to you is not against you but because of your Saviour.
His surrendered will
After confessing Jesus as Lord his immediate response is, “Lord what will you have me to do?” (Acts 9:6) He is now ready and willing to be obedient to the Word of his new Master.
His spirit was broken and the pride in his own pursuits was gone, now surrendering his life to the will of another. You will notice the Lord does not tell him what to do but to get up and go into the city and it would be told him there.
Under the care of others
The Lord who saved him is now going to put him in the care of others who would give guidance and direction. A whole new world is opening up to Saul and he will not be the same person again!
While in the city the Lord directs Ananias to go to the house of Judas and inquire concerning Saul. You can fully understand his apprehension about meeting this one who was well known for terrorizing the believers.
However as a true servant he obeys the voice of the Lord and meets him with a warm welcome brother Saul. (Acts 9:17) His willingness to embrace Saul is a vital lesson for us in greeting new believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
No suspicion on the part of Ananias and no waiting to see if he is going to shape up or not. How sad when assemblies hold back from encouraging new converts to move forward and become true disciples in following the Lord.
To be continued…