Saul, Apostle for the Gentiles

Today's Bible reading: Acts 9:1-31

Saul’s conversion is an event that is unique in more ways than one.  Though Luke allows Paul to tell his own story again later on in the Book of Acts … this account in its present position points to the growth of the Church’s Gentile mission.

Saul - this persecutor of God’s Church … “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” -  is stopped dead in his tracks … taken captive by the very Lord whose subjects he is trying to take captive.  Struck blind, he is lead into Damascus … and there meets a believer named Ananias.  As we heard read in our First Reading this morning, this man has first received some staggering information from the Lord in a vision.  Saul - the persecutor with blood on his hands - has been chosen to carry Christ’s name to the Gentile world.  He who has caused so much suffering to Christ’s saints will himself be called to learn the joy of suffering in the service of that name.

Once the Spirit fills Saul, he is a transformed man.  More than physical scales fall from his eyes.  He now sees and preaches the greatest truth: Jesus is the Son of God.  It’s no wonder that his previous employers - the Jewish leaders - are soon out to kill him.  Saul - later called Paul - is no coward.  In both Damascus and Jerusalem, he shows the genuineness of his faith and calling by boldly preaching and disputing the truth.

Due to Paul’s past, Christians are understandably suspicious of him.  Due to his new faith, enemies of the Christian faith plot to kill him.  Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit brings Paul to other believers who help him escape each time.  Today - through the power of the Gospel - the Church continues to grow.  The Lord will likewise watch over the future of our congregation, here at Holy Cross.  Our job - and our privilege - is to proclaim Christ … and trust our Savior to care for us and bless us with the results in accordance with His gracious will.

Prayer: Father, through Your Word, strengthen me in Christ.  Make me, like those who assisted Saul, faithful in serving the proclamation of the Gospel.  Amen