Audio Available from April 21 - Acts 9:1-19 "Saul's Deep Transformation; Ananias' Courageous Obedience"
In the expanding movement of the kingdom of God on earth, we come to a story of deep significance. This is the story of Saul's radical transformation. One of the most vehement opponents of the early followers of Jesus, he meets the Risen Jesus himself in most dramatic fashion. The extent of the change in his life may be seen by comparing 9:1 where he is 'breathing our murderous threats against the Lord's disciples' with 9:20 where we read that 'he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God'. Meeting Jesus caused a 180 degree turn in his life direction! As we follow the rest of the NT story of course we realize that this Saul becomes the Apostle Paul who will play a key role in taking the Good News of Jesus to the Gentiles, helping the news spread as far as Rome by the end of Acts, plus he will be the one who writes many of the letters that comprise our New Testament. In the process of observing this story we may have confidence to know a couple of certainties - first that Jesus really is alive and He longs for people to come to know Him. Saul discovered this and was transformed. Secondly, we learn that God is still entrusting the kingdom of God on earth to ordinary but faithful people. We learn this by looking at the other main character in our story - 'a disciple named Ananias'. He hears the word of the Lord in his life and obeys. In the process of obedience he meets Saul and is involved in the poignant moment of transformation in Saul's life. We are invited to respond to these certainties by 'seeing ourselves that Jesus really is alive and receiving the gift of life He came to offer' and by being one of those faithful people like Ananias who 'heard and did' what the Lord asked of him.
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