"But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;"
Saul is a pretty bad guy. Some might call him the worst of sinners, the least of all men. In fact, Saul calls himself that. He persecuted the Church. He put Christians in chains bound for Jerusalem and their ultimate stony end. He watched Stephan be murdered and he cheered the whole way through. Yes, he persecuted the Church and so he persecuted Jesus. If there was ever a man who deserved eternal death and damnation, it was Saul. Yet Jesus brings even this sinner of sinners to repentance. Jesus, miracle of all miracles, even died for the likes of Saul. And then He used him to preach the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins to the Gentiles. Who better to preach such a thing than a former racist murdering bigot who should be eternally dead and yet, by God’s boundless mercy, stands forgiven through Christ?
Dear Jesus, thank You for the forgiveness that You have shown to Saul, and to me. Amen.
Devotion by Pastor Eli Lietzau
Produced by Around the Word Devotion