Thursday, March 24, 2011

Conversion

The subheading for Acts 9 often reads "Saul's Conversion". We looked at Acts 9:1-19 in church one morning & were asked "Who was changed?". The obvious answer was of course, Saul (or Paul as we now know him). My mind didn't instantly rest on Saul however, my thoughts instead turned toward Ananias & the other believers involved.

We know the story: Saul was headed toward Damascus when he was struck blind on the road. He was told to get up, go into the city & await further instruction. Ananias lived in Damascus. If he had heard Saul was coming, he most likely planned to lay low. He knew who Saul was- no doubt his reputation for persecuting followers of Jesus preceded him wherever he went. Ananias probably heard what had just happened to Stephen as well. That in mind, he questioned God when he was told to go find Saul & pray for him. What believer in their right mind would deliberately seek out Saul of all people? But God told Ananias to go because Saul had been chosen to spread the gospel.

Imagine what Ananias must have been feeling. This defied all logic. He could be imprisoned or killed. But it was a risk he was willing to take because he trusted God. Ananias prayed for Saul & "something like scales" fell from his eyes. He was baptised & preaching Christ in short order. It took some time for the other believers to warm up to Saul, but eventually he was received as one of their own. I think in the end, the greater conversion occurred for Ananias & the other believers. Imagine the faith they would need to have in God to be able to welcome Saul into the fold. Imagine the forgiveness they were required to extend to Saul in light of his atrocities!

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