“Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.“ Acts 9.19-22
I don’t know whether this will be a good illustration or not but I am going to give it a shot. When I think about Saul, and how he traded “teams,” from the Jews to becoming a new Christian, I think about great NFL quarterbacks like Tom Brady or Payton Manning. These guys are unbelievable in their fields. Both of them, at one point, traded teams. Brady from the Patriots to the Bucs, and Manning from the Colts to the Broncos. Both of them won Super Bowls with the old and new teams.
Now Saul/Paul is not an NFL QB. He’s something way better! He is a minister/evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He went from killing it (bad pun intended) as a zealous Jew, to a faithful mighty man of God preaching Jesus Christ almost literally overnight. He was a success with his Jewish roots, even though it was hurting the church, but even a greater success among the new Body of Christ. Saul, not unlike the QB’s I mentioned, excelled in his field before and after his conversion.
After Ananias came and prayed for Saul to recover his sight, he — now hear this — “at once began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the son of God.” He didn’t first go to seminary, like I would have preferred, he didn’t go through the Navigators discipleship program, he didn’t get confirmed in the Church, he went to preaching. “Immediately” as the Scriptures says. And those who heard him were astonished and remembered his past, asked if he was the same person as before. And as he preached and now proclaimed the truth of Christ, he “grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.”
Now I ask, how did he prove it? Probably by Scripture, eye witnesses and such. But mostly, I believe by personal testimony. His life was a witness to the saving grace of God. If God could take someone like Saul, who hated Jesus, into someone like Paul, who now loved Jesus — what can he do in our lives?
Saul’s revival is every person’s hope! The hope that Christ takes sinners and makes them saints. The hope that those who were lost can now be found. The hope that those who need redemption can find restoration through the person of Jesus Christ.
Saul only became a true champion when he surrendered his life to Jesus. Only then did he join God’s team and become everything God intended him to be.
“O Lord God, I feel far from a champion! I am your bond servant, seeking to walk with you in all my ways. And yet I fail! Almost daily I stray, I struggle, I seek my own needs over the needs of others. Help me Lord Jesus! Rescue me from this prison of flesh. Save me by the power of your Holy Spirit that I might be all you have called and created me to be. By your grace and for your glory. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen