Today's Lectionary Text
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and 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. 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.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
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.”
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.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
Reflect: Have you ever had an Ananias experience? Either someone who is God sent to help the scales fall from
your eyes, or being sent by God to deliver someone?
Does God have your attention today? What has the Lord had to do to get your attention in the past?
Think of someone you personally know who seems the most resistant to Christ. Is it possible that he or she is a spiritual leader in the making? What difference might it make if you stated to see and act towards that person, utilizing that perspective? Stop
Encouragement: Radially Open to the Leading of the Spirit
Jesus announcement that his followers would be his witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) takes on a whole new dimension with the inclusion of the prosecutor's Saul into the Jesus movement. It has been amazing to me to reflect on the movement during these 50 days and pay attention to the many surprising twists and turns it takes. It does not progress according to the apostles’ carefully defined strategy. They have a mission that will take them to the “ends of the earth”, but how that unfolds is surprising.
I think being clear on a mission and even developing strategies to accomplish that mission is an important task. However, What I have discovered from the book of Acts is that I need to be very flexible with the new strategies and cultivate in extreme sensitivity to the leading and promoting of the Holy Spirit who may empower those strategies or may surprise me with different ones. I also need to be radically open to the people God may use to accomplish this mission. They may be the very people that are the least likely candidates.
By: Blake Busick
Prayer for Reflection
For this person that God would get his or her attention and use you as a means to spread the Gospel wildly.
“Excerpted from the book “Catch Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World” by Blake Busick and Christie Latona.”
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