May 6, 2019
Acts 9:20-31 Contemporary English Version
Has Jesus turned your whole life upside down with the Truth of God’s love? No matter whose life is touched, anyone who has an encounter with Jesus is forever changed; never to see things quite the same again. In an instant we know the Truth about our hearts, our need for salvation, and the Truth about God’s gracious and forgiving love. We see that so clearly not only in our lives and the lives of other followers of Christ, but in all the biblical accounts of people meeting Messiah. The Apostle Paul experienced a 180 degree shift in his life after meeting Jesus on the Road to Damascus. He went from persecuting the disciples of Christ to preaching Jesus as the Messiah; God stopped him in his tracks and gave him a clearer vision of His heart. In that moment, Saul experienced the Truth, but he also experienced the grace and forgiveness of God. The Truth made Saul a new man with a fresh and accurate vision.
Because of this change in Saul, he finds himself being hated by his own peers. Have you had to leave some people behind to follow Christ? Before meeting Christ, Saul had no problem hating and persecuting Christians, but now he has met the risen Messiah and finds himself compassionate for the disciples and passionate for the Gospel. If you read the New Testament letters, you will discover the Lord never wasted Paul’s background or training. Instead, the Lord turned it to benefit the Kingdom and the work of Christ in ministering the gospel to the Gentiles. God will not waste your past successes nor failures; instead he will use it for the salvation of the world if you will allow it. Your life story can always lead others to Christ. Give the Lord your whole life and see what the Spirit can do with it.
Acts 9:20-31 Saul Preaches in Damascus
For several days Saul stayed with the Lord’s followers in Damascus. 20 Soon he went to the Jewish meeting places and started telling people that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 Everyone who heard Saul was amazed and said, “Isn’t this the man who caused so much trouble for those people in Jerusalem who worship in the name of Jesus? Didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them to the chief priests?”
22 Saul preached with such power that he completely confused the Jewish people in Damascus, as he tried to show them that Jesus is the Messiah.
23 Later some of them made plans to kill Saul, 24 but he found out about it. He learned that they were guarding the gates of the city day and night in order to kill him. 25 Then one night his followers let him down over the city wall in a large basket.
Saul in Jerusalem
26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the followers. But they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a true follower. 27 Then Barnabas helped him by taking him to the apostles. He explained how Saul had seen the Lord and how the Lord had spoken to him. Barnabas also said that when Saul was in Damascus, he had spoken bravely in the name of Jesus.
28 Saul moved about freely with the followers in Jerusalem and told everyone about the Lord. 29 He was always arguing with the Jews who spoke Greek, and so they tried to kill him. 30 But the followers found out about this and took Saul to Caesarea. From there they sent him to the city of Tarsus.
31 The church in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria now had a time of peace and kept on worshiping the Lord. The church became stronger, as the Holy Spirit encouraged it and helped it grow.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for turning my life around years ago and facing me in the right direction. I look forward to each day with you and what you are bringing into my life. Use my past, present, and future for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.