Reading through the Bible together
The conversion story of Saul, or Paul, recorded in chapter 9 is so powerful that Barnabas retells it in an attempt to convince the apostles that Paul is a new man. Paul himself twice recounts his testimony at length later (Acts 22 and 26). This testimony really changes hearts.
Paul is first introduced in Acts 7 as an approver of Stephen’s stoning, and he reappears briefly in Acts 8 to be identified as the oppressor who caused early Christians to flee Jerusalem. Chapter 9 begins with Paul “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (verse 1). What a contrast to Jesus who breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Paul, however, was breathing an unholy spirit.
So Paul had much to contemplate after being blinded by Jesus, and was left with a life-changing disability. His old priorities and ambitions were gone, and didn’t seem important anymore. What would he do? No wonder he didn’t eat or drink for three days. Paul received most of his eyesight back and was given the Holy Spirit. There fell from his eyes as if it were scales (verse 18). Paul later wrote in 1 Cor. 2:14 that this is what happens to us when we receive the Holy Spirit: We suddenly are able to discern spiritual things.
Paul didn’t let any time pass between his old and new life, and “immediately he preached the Christ” (verse 20). This is an example for us. No matter if you or I made a mistake yesterday, we must not spend time focusing on our weaknesses or waiting to feel forgiven. Instead, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, cling to His merciful grace, and boldly share our love for the Master.
“Dear God, forgive me for my sins and for, like Saul, pursuing goals that accomplished nothing for You. Fill me with the Holy Spirit so I can discern Your will. May I be filled with Paul’s passion for sharing Jesus starting today—no matter what mistakes I made yesterday. Amen.”
Andrew McChesneyNews Editor of the Adventist Review