This week as we continue our What if…? series, we are taking a look at Saul on the road to Damascus.
Acts 9:1-22 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
9 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 For three days he was without sight and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 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.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem, 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.
For the children…
What if we realize we were wrong about a part of our theology. What if Jesus tries to communicate to us about an incorrect perspective we have?
What a story of the conversion of Saul, or Paul, depending on your perspective. Do you know of anyone who had a similar story? Maybe not the bright light and the blindness, but a conversion so powerful everything in your life changes immediately.
My story of conversion seems to be ongoing. I made a commitment to follow Jesus as a young boy out of fear of going to hell. That commitment didn’t change who I was or how I was acting. In my late teen years, I recommitted my life and knew that I needed to think, live and act differently. I have spent almost 30 years trying to authentically follow Jesus. I am grateful for that journey and the opportunity to journey with others.
One thing I am struck by is, as I draw closer to Jesus, my perspective begins to change. There are things that I believed in my twenties, that I no longer believe the same way. I wonder what happens when I am in my sixties? Could I think differently then than I do now?
I hope so…
I don’t say that because I enjoy being wrong about my faith or what I believe about God, but I hope so because I believe that the closer we draw to God the more it changes our perspective and our thinking.
So just like in my twenties, could I now be carrying an incorrect belief as a part of my faith? I don’t think any of us have the full revelation of God, so if there is more to learn about God and how God acts in this world and how God wants us to act in the world… if there is always an opportunity to experience God in deeper ways…
Are we open to learning new things about God and what God is inviting us to?
What if that is different than something you believe today?
Jesus may not interrupt you with a blinding light on your way to work tomorrow, but how might Jesus get your attention?
Would we notice or would we try and dismiss it?
Let’s talk about it on Sunday.