Focus verses: Acts 9:1-22
When we last saw Saul, he was participating in the stoning of Stephen. Saul was a second generation Pharisee. He seems to have had a position in the Temple at Jerusalem. He was diametrically opposed to the followers of the new Way.
While on his way to Damascus searching for followers of Jesus to bring them back to Jerusalem for trial and punishment, he literally saw the Light. That Light blinded him for three days. He was led to Damascus and spent those three days in fasting and prayer.
Then the Lord sent Ananias to him for healing and baptism.
Ananias was not eager to go to Saul. He had heard Saul’s reputation and knew that Saul had authority to arrest all who called on the name of Jesus. He went because he was told that Saul was God’s chosen instrument to carry the word to the Gentiles.
When he went he did not rebuke Saul. He called him “brother.” He laid hands on Saul, restoring his sight. Then Paul spent some time with the disciples in Damascus, presumably talking and learning.
As a Pharisee, Saul would have been familiar with all the Old Testament. It would not have been a far leap for the disciples to speak of Jesus and Paul to have seen the fulfillment of prophesy in His life.
But the people in general were skeptical. They knew his reputation – and his deeds. They didn’t believe his conversion. He had to prove it to them.
How often do we do this to others? We know who people are – or at least what kind of people they have been. Then there is a change in their lives, but we keep them in the old pigeon hole where we had cataloged them. We don’t accept their change, and therefore we make the change difficult for them.
Look at the grace of Ananias. He called Saul his brother. He didn’t do this in his own strength. He extended the grace of God.
Grant us the wisdom to keep from pigeon holing people in predetermined molds. Help us to extend Your grace to all who would follow you regardless of their past.