Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath. He was eager to destroy the Lord's followers, so he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them -- both men and women -- back to Jerusalem in chains.
Saul, whom we first encountered when Stephen was being martyred for his family, is persecuting the Christians, arresting some and history indicates that he even participated in murdering Christians but God had another plan. Remember “religion not based on God’s Word” destroys and will even lead to murder whether it’s physical or by the words they speak. Jesus did not come to create another religion but rather came to build a bridge between God and man. I say it continuously but we need to hear it over and over, God loves us so much that He had a Son but wanted a family so Father God planted His Son in the ground and we became His Family. How can you not serve a God like this? It’s a little off the subject we are on but these verses are powerful:
1 Cor. 15:20 But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. 21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, Adam, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man, Christ. 22 Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, the first man. But all who are related to Christ, the other man, will be given new life.
Glory to God, He sowed and now we who have accepted Jesus are His Harvest!
Back to the story: Saul was persecuting Christian men and women and there is not a doubt in my mind that the early church went to prayer about what Saul was doing. Prayer changes things and it also changes people and God was about to get Saul’s attention. Some of the early church probably wrote Saul off as hopeless and deceived but the power of prayer opened his spiritual eyes.
3 As he was nearing Damascus on this mission, a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him! 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?"
I’ve got good news; God never changes so if HE did it then, He will do it now in the 21st century if we will pray with faith. We ALL have loved ones running from God, living sinful lifestyles and we need them to encounter the living God like Saul did on the Damascus Road. Stop right now and pray for those in your family who need this type of experience. There is power in believing prayer. Saul had the greatest deception of all, religious deception but God got his attention and woke him up.
5 "Who are you, sir?" Saul asked. And the voice replied, "I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!
I would have loved to have seen Saul’s face at this moment, being knocked down was one thing, hearing a voice was another, but then knowing it was Jesus speaking totally changed his life. He was persecuting those who professed Jesus and now this Jesus was talking to him. Fear, I’m sure, gripped his heart but then the presence of the Lord brought peace in the situation.
6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
Don’t you love it when God’s plan comes together? God had a plan for Saul before he was ever born and God’s plan did not change because Saul had made some bad choices so when he repented God’s plan began to take place in his life.
7 The men with Saul stood speechless with surprise, for they heard the sound of someone's voice, but they saw no one!
It’s hard to read the BIble and not believe in the supernatural because God is a supernatural God who still does supernatural things. Saul, even though he couldn’t see, heard the voice of God for the first time. When we blind ourselves to the things of this world, we are able to hear the voice of God clearly. When we continually feed our eyes and ears with this world, it lessens our ability to hear from the Lord.
8 As Saul picked himself up off the ground, he found that he was blind. 9 So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained there blind for three days. And all that time he went without food and water.
Saul after encountering the presence of the Lord, went on a three day fast seeking truth. Next week we will see the tremendous plan of God coming to pass for Saul.
Prayer Points: Lord remove the things in my life (sin, tradition, strongholds, generational curses, false religion) that keep me from hearing your voice clearly in my life so I can fulfill my purpose.