Summary: Explores 3 aspects of Saul’s conversion. Flash of light, God choses the most unlikely people to do His work (he choses YOU), With Jesus adversity becomes opportunity and even Victory.
I have a question for you.
Has anyone here ever had something go wrong but that going wrong was the very thing that made things work out in the end?
What do I mean?
Have you ever missed the bus and you go back home to find that you’d forgotten to lock the house or something? If you hadn’t missed the bus you’d possibly have arrived back home later in the day to find all your finest jewels gone. The tragedy saved the day – so to say.
It could even be something big.
I once met a highly decorated old military sea captain – he was a most extraordinary man. He was an expert of strategy and I knew that in the second world war he had been highly decorated as a captain of a warship. On one convoy from America his ship was the only one to make it across and he for this he received a medal. I asked his strategy for this and he laughed.
The navigator was injured and he, the Captain was the only other officer on board who could navigate. There was total radio silence and the fog descended. They sailed for several days in total silence and in this thick fog. As it cleared they could see no other ships in the convoy. So they continued sailing towards England. Suddenly they saw land, which turned out to be the coast of Spain. They were hundreds of miles off course. They eventually arrived in Plymouth to a glorious welcome. All the other ships had been sunk by U-boats but because they had got lost, THEY made it safely home.
Before they could confess to the blunder they heard that they were up for medals and so decided to keep it quiet and accept them.
It’s strange how blunders and mishaps can become the very thing that brings the glory.
And I wonder if Jesus saw a similar thing when he looked at this mishap of a citizen called Saul.
In Christian terms Saul was about as horrible as you could get. He was a Pharisee, very religious too. He knew his bible and was very sincere. He believed that these Christians were a big threat to the Jewish faith and beliefs that he held so devoutly. And he was a man of action.
He didn’t just ignore Christians and dismiss their following of Christ. He hated Christians, he actively persecuted them, he went out of his way to kill them with vengeance. AND he didn’t just get Christians who happened to come his way; he went out of his way to go and get them.
And we see in the reading from Acts 9 he gets permission from the High Priest to go to Damascus, to seek out these Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem as prisoners. A 300 mile round trip (In those days) – It must be like going to Australia or China in modern travel terms – Just to get the Christians.
BUT God calls Saul, in a flash of light, to be one of his greatest Preachers, Evangelists and Missionaries. Of course he changes his name to Paul and even ends up writing much of the New Testament in our bible.
And I’d like to focus on three aspects of Paul’s conversion today.
The first point is the Flash of Light, which made Saul fall to the Ground.
God sure knows how to get your attention!
With Saul, he sent this light from heaven that made him fall to the ground. Jesus then speaks to him directly
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” it says in verse 4
And Saul knows that it is the Lord. He doesn’t know the Lord personally yet but he knows that this voice is the Lord speaking.
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.
And when Saul gets up from the ground he opens his eyes and he can see nothing, he is blind.
A few days later, of course a disciple called Annanias is told by Jesus to find a man called Saul who is praying and to place hands on him to restore his sight.
And Acts 9 tells this is an incredible and exciting account, which I urge you to look at in your own time at home.
But what about you.
How has God called you in the past and how is he calling you today?
Has anyone ever had a blinding flash of light from God which has thrown them down to the floor and blinded them for days?
No? Well you’re probably more receptive than Saul. Since you haven’t gone around persecuting Christians all over the place Jesus probably feels he can be rather gentler with you. Sometimes you have to shout to be heard and sometimes you don’t.