Devotional on Acts 9 (NIV). Saul had witnessed the death of Stephen and his prayer of forgiveness for those who were stoning him. Perhaps even then his heart was sensitized to the reality of who Jesus was. But he fought against that reality by “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (9:1). Long before Saul met the Lord on the Damascus road, God had a plan for him. This plan was revealed in part to Ananias, “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name” (9:15-16). How amazing is it that God would choose a man who hated the followers of the Way to be His chosen instrument to spread the good news of the Way!
In addition to Luke’s description of what happened on the road to Damascus in chapter 9, he recorded Paul’s testimony about that day on two other occasions. The first is found in chapter 22, when Paul was arrested by some Roman soldiers to prevent a Jewish mob from killing him. When Paul was permitted to speak to the crowd, he revealed more insight into what Ananias told him: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard” (vv. 14-15). He was a witness to the people of his own time, and he is a witness to us today because he wrote about one-third of the New Testament!
The second testimony is in chapter 26. Paul had remained in custody for more than two years when he had an opportunity to tell his story to King Agrippa. He gave more details about what the Lord had revealed to him after he was blinded on the road. The Lord had said, “For this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you as a servant and a witness not only to the things in which you have seen Me, but also to the things in which I will appear to you, rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (26:16-18). In this day when there is so much darkness in our world, we still have the same mission that Paul had: to open the eyes of the spiritually blinded, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the power of God! Oh, that everyone today would seek to find “an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in (Christ)!”