Sunday, October 22, 2023
[Paul defended himself before an angry Jewish mob by recounting his conversion to Christianity. He told them about being blinded when Jesus spoke to him and being directed to a godly Jewish man in Damascus who would tell him what to do. Paul explained,] "A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus. He came and stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, regain your sight.' And that very moment I could see him!"
Paul was not anti-Semitic, and he did not disdain his Jewish heritage or the Torah that God gave to Moses.* However, as a true Israelite of deep convictions, he understood the strong passions of the Jewish people who were angry with him. Paul, known as Saul at the time, had been like them in his opposition to Jesus in his early years. Even with the crowd wanting to kill him, he passionately wanted his fellow Jews to come to Christ and confess Jesus as Messiah and Lord. After his conversion, Paul was able to bless and influence others because Ananias, a fellow godly Jewish man devoted to the law, had come to Paul when it was potentially dangerous to do so. The Lord Jesus used Ananias to restore Saul's sight, teach him more fully about Jesus, and baptize him. In other words, through Ananias Jesus restored Saul's sight, physically and spiritually. Along with every life he touched, Saul would never be the same because Ananias was obedient and allowed Jesus to use him! Behind all great leaders for God has been someone who served them sacrificially and led them to see Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Who is God calling you to serve in this way?
* See the first set of the Related Scripture Readings for passages that speak to Paul's Jewish convictions and his past as well as his love for his fellow-Jews.
Almighty God, my precious Abba Father, thank you for the people in my life who served and loved me and led me to see Jesus for who he truly is. I have no idea where I would be without them. Please help each of them know their life mattered and made a difference. Now, dear Father, I ask that you use me to encourage and strengthen them. Help me clearly identify the people who influenced my faith and commitment to you. Holy Spirit, stir my heart to remember to serve and pray for them. Jesus, remind me of the ways you reached out to others to touch them. I ask that you use me as you did those who influenced me; use me both to touch their hearts and to bring you glory. Amen.
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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