When he realized he was talking to Jesus Himself, Saul asked the question that would give Jesus the opportunity He was looking for: ”What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10, NKJV). The question indicates contrition in view of his actions up to that moment, but more important, it expresses an unconditional willingness to let Jesus guide his life from then on. Taken to Damascus, Saul was to wait for further instructions.
In Acts 9:10-19, the Bible reveals how the Lord was working to prepare Saul of Tarsus for his new life as the apostle Paul. In a vision, Jesus gave Ananias the assignment to visit Saul and lay his hands on him for the restoration of his sight. Ananias, however, already knew who Saul was, as well as how many of the brethren had suffered and even lost their lives because of him. He was also well informed of the very reason why Saul was in Damascus, and so, surely, he did not want to become Saul’s first victim there. His hesitation was understandable.
Yet, what Ananias did not know was that Saul had just had a personal encounter with Jesus that changed his life forever. He did not know that, instead of still working for the Sanhedrin, Saul—to Ananias’s astonishment—had just been called by Jesus to work for Him, which means that Saul was no longer an apostle of the Sanhedrin but Jesus’ chosen instrument to take the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.
In Galatians, Paul insists that he received his message and his apostleship directly from Jesus Christ, not from any human source. This does not necessarily contradict the role performed by Ananias in his call. When visiting him, Ananias just confirmed the commission Saul had already received on the Damascus road from Jesus Himself.
In fact, the change in Saul’s life was so dramatic that no human cause can be assigned to it. Only divine intervention can explain how Jesus’ most obsessive opponent would suddenly embrace Him as Savior and Lord, leave everything—convictions, reputation, career—behind, and become His most devoted and prolific apostle.
|In what ways does Saul’s conversion illustrate the operation of God’s wonderful grace? What can you learn from his story concerning those in your life whom you doubt will ever come to true faith?|
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons