Saul is Converted

Light shining on body of water near mountains.

This is now my sixteenth teaching from the Book of Acts. This series has lasted longer than I expected, but that is okay because I am flowing with this as the Lord leads me. I hope that these blog posts have been a blessing to those of you who have been following. In this blog post, I want to cover the first part of Acts chapter nine which shows us a major change in the life of Saul. Now from previous chapters, we know Saul was very involved with the persecution of Early Christians. However, many of us who are truly born-again believers know that God can grab a hold of anyone and change them.

Saul Has an Encounter with Jesus

Let’s start by reading Acts 9:1-2 (NKJV) which says, “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest  and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”. At the beginning of chapter nine Saul is still involved with persecution, he is a very strong driving force behind the persecution of the early church. Continuing Acts 9:3-4 (NKJV) tells us, “As he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”.  A light came to Saul from Heaven, when this happened Saul fell to the ground because of the presence of Jesus. Just to digress for a moment let’s look at the aspect of Saul falling because of the presence of Jesus. There are many instances when people fell or were shaken by the presence of God in both the Old and New Testaments. When God’s presence comes on someone very strongly one can fall or be shaken. Some people refer to falling in the Spirit as ‘slain in the Spirit’. I have personally seen the presence of God manifest at different churches where people did get slain in the Spirit, and some miracles took place. Many people will argue with the notion of being slain in the Spirit as not Biblical. If you take the time to study the Bible you will see the presence of God can cause someone to fall or be shaken. This can still happen today simply because of Hebrews 13:8 (AMP) which says, “Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever.”. In one of my future blog posts, I will cover this subject in more detail. It is also important to note that some people do abuse certain Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and this can happen with being slain in the Spirit. Again, this is a topic I will cover in more detail in a future blog post!

Saul is Blinded

Continuing with Saul’s encounter with Jesus Acts 9:5-6 (NKJV) tells us, “And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So, he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”. Saul is confronted by Jesus regarding the persecution and then is instructed to go to the city of Damascus. Notice where he said “Lord, what do you want me to do”, he was surrendering to Jesus at this point which is part of Saul’s conversion. Acts 9:8 (NKJV) goes on to tell us, “Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened, he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.”. Saul is now blinded and has other people help him into the city of Damascus. Acts 9:9 (GNT) tells us, “For three days he was not able to see, and during that time he did not eat or drink anything.”. Saul’s struggle with blindness was a few days long, also since he had nothing to eat or drink, we can expect him to naturally lose some strength.

Ananias Instructed to Step Out of His Comfort-Zone

Acts 9:10 (NKJV) continues, “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”. Ananias is a disciple who will play an important role in the change in Saul’s life. Acts 9:11-12 (NKJV) goes on to tell us “So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him so that he might receive his sight.” God instructs Ananias to go to Saul and lay hands on him and pray for him to receive his eyesight in the name of Jesus. Acts 9:13-14 (NKJV) continues, “Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”. Ananias knows of Saul’s persecution and does not think well of Saul, but God is still instructing Ananias to go to Saul and pray for him. Acts 9:15-16 (NKJV) tells us why God is doing this with Saul, “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”. We all know that God is not a respecter of persons. Acts 10:34 (GNT) tells us, “Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis.”. The Message Bible translates it as “Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.”. We also know as followers of Jesus Christ we are to pray for all people. In 1 Timothy 2:1 Paul tells us, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people”. Often in life, we will encounter unbelievers that we will have problems getting along with, whether that be at work, the store, or even your friends and family. We often must realize that the reason we have problems with certain individuals who are unbelievers is because of the spirit behind them. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV) says, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”. So, I encourage you to pray for all people, and do spiritual warfare! I would also like to remind you that God will sometimes call us to do things that we are uncomfortable with, however, we are to be obedient to what God leads us to do. If God is leading you to do something out of your comfort zone, ask Him for strength and wisdom.

Sauls Healing

As we read on, we do find out that Ananias does lead by example and goes to Saul as the Lord instructed him. Acts 9:17-18 (NKJV) tells us, “And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once, and he arose and was baptized.”. Saul was healed and received the Holy Spirit and was baptized. Isn’t it amazing to see someone who was heavily involved in persecution convert over to accepting Jesus! This should be an encouragement to us believers as we pray for our unsaved loved ones! Acts 9:19 (NKJV) goes on to say, “So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.”. Saul did spend some time with the disciples after he converted. This shows us the importance of personal ministry with new believers and ensuring they get a strong foundation.

A Challenge for You This Week

I encourage you to take some time this week and ask God to reveal to you one person that you can minister to this week. Whether it be an unbeliever or a believer. Maybe you know someone who never accepted Jesus, or maybe you know someone who did accept Jesus but is struggling. Let’s lead by example from this passage from the Book of Acts I shared with you this week and do some personal ministry with someone as God leads us!